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China commits to building its own SLS

The new colonial movement: China yesterday officially announced that it has approved construction of a heavy-lift rocket, dubbed Long March 9, that would by 2030 be able to put 140 tons into orbit.

The rocket is planned to have a lift capacity of 140 metric tons, with the capability of sending 50 or more tons into lunar orbit. It would be an immense vehicle, with a 10-meter diameter core and 5-meter side boosters. China would also like to eventually make the rocket, or at least part of it, reusable.

China is also developing another large rocket more comparable to the Falcon Heavy, though this other rocket has no name and information about it is more scarce.

Both projects indicate the long term commitment of the Chinese government to its space program. They also indicate that the present-day international competition to get into space is fueling far more development than the last forty years of international cooperation.

Whether these giant government rockets from China will be practical and efficient is an unanswered question. Just building something to compete is not the same thing as actually competing. The rockets have to be affordable, with the ability to launch frequently to make in-space exploration possible. If not, they will nothing more than big photo ops for incompetent politicians, kind of like SLS is for the U.S.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

15 comments

  • Ray Van Dune

    They’ve obviously been tapping Sen. Shelby’s phone. Maybe we can help them steal Boeing’s Starliner software too!

    But seriously, I’d like to suggest we need a debate about the value or wisdom of international cooperation in space going forward, especially in respect to China and Russia. The EU may be capable of making a net positive contribution, but the other two I think simply represent a risk of espionage, and even worse of the western world helping to propagate international communism and terrorism to other worlds! That’s how I see it… “change my mind!”

  • MDN

    Sadly our greatest challenge is not to establish and protect civil liberties and the rule of law in outer space, it is simply to preserve it here on Earth. May God help us so so.

  • LocalFluff

    Perhaps it is counter infiltration? Nah, the Soviets used espionage on the Concorde super sonic passenger aircraft in the 1960s to build the Tupolev 144. After having crashed a few times, and always only carrying top party members, it was discontinued as a passenger aircraft.

    Problems with the espionage of the Soviets were that they used non-inch standards on their tools. And otherwise had different standards. So they had to make the aluminium hull plates thicker, and smaller, and that affected the mass and aerodynamics. Together with the different characteristics of the engines, then the wings and nose had to be redesigned. And so on. It was a look-alike aircraft, but it performed differently. And not so good. Copying blueprints wasn’t so easy.

    I’m sure it is much easier for China today since all they know is what Western industries have given them. But this obviously isn’t an SLS copy anyway. China socialists are wise enough to know to not believe their own propaganda lies, and do what works instead. Socialism is royalty. Emperor Xi Jinping has “cancelled” Winnie the Pooh, but not useful industry practices.

  • LocalFluff

    Here’s a clip of a FANTASTIC take off by the Tu-144!!! I went vertical before the runway ends.
    And its crash on the Paris air show in 1973.
    https://youtu.be/bEIAMM13RFQ?t=29

  • “China commits to building its own SLS”

    Hey, we’ve got one we’re looking to get rid of, and the Chinese want one. Deal?

  • LocalFluff

    The Chinese build cities uninhabited and railroads to nowhere. And dams crashing. They could an SLS that either never flies, or blows up, they have a proven record of both.

    I’ve repeated this several times. NASA, or anyone thrifty, should’ve bought or made a consortium with Roscosmos in the early 1990s to use their successful Energia launcher. The working SLS 30 years before the SLS. Thirty years. Russians are much much better at socialism than the Americans.

  • Andi

    They’ve had more practice. Isn’t that what the lefties keep saying here – that we just haven’t tried it long enough.?

    Course there is that small matter of tens of millions of deaths…

  • jhonB

    Let’s hope they did steal this from NASA, they can blow billions and billions over the next 15 years and never get off the ground.

  • Lee Stevenson

    All the funnies are very funny, but the US would be very complacent to disregard China in the current space race. They have advantages over the US in many ways right now…. Stolen access to all your stuff, a genuine long term plan that isn’t going to change every 4 years, and a seemingly genuine urge to become a dominant force in exploration of space. There is no doubt that they have become a real player in the game in a short amount of time. The Chinese government obviously has a plan, and while I wish any and everyone good luck in space exploration, and I can only agree that capitalism has driven massive advance in space technology in the last decades, it would be foolish to discount China….

  • pzatchok

    I have always admired the Russian ability to copy and modify a design to make something workable.
    But advancement and innovation are not their forte.

    The problem with NASA and many engineers in the US is that they over work a problem. For the SLS instead of dropping back on old proven tech and just redesigning a main air-frame and using the old tanks and engines they got talked into using all new cutting edge manufacturing techniques at HUGE costs. Just to save a little weight.
    On budget, on time and usable are not their goals.

  • Jeff Wright

    I seem to remember hearing that the Concorde plans were doctored with a Rogue One type flaw that led to the crash. But they came up with good rockets because they had no fear of size. While we were trying to shave off every ounce-they made the rockets bigger. China agrees. Reusability is not the same as sustainability. If China wants the Moon badly enough they aren’t above throwing five away-to fall atop the heads of their own subjects-to get one to Luna. We all know how the Great Wall was built. Still, it’s their easily siloed solids that are most concerning. Russia was about oppresion from above. In China-it is about orderliness…stability before justice…the nail that stands out will be hammered down. Culture allowed them to separate Glastnost from Perestroika where the rowdy Russians failed. The Long View. No talk of a ground zero mosque there-no Londonistan-no gangsta’ thugs running the schoolhouse-get the math question right-and we won’t cane you. I must give them that much.

  • Jeff Wright

    Something else- Earth is the US, Britain is Vulcan, NATO is the Fed, Russians are the Klingons-ESA is Romulus-and China is the Borg.

  • pzatchok noted: “The problem with NASA and many engineers in the US is that they over work a problem.”

    How many times have I told an intern “Don’t overthink the problem.” Get to a robust, workable solution, and leave it alone.

  • Jeff Wright

    In China, space isn’t a red headed step-child. Here in the US, anti-military types, cost-cutting budget hawks and other branches of the service -who know rods from god make carriers and bombers obsolete-they all gang up on you. That’s why I’m so touchy on the subject of space.

  • wayne

    the sound-track to the annihilation strike:

    U2
    “Seconds”
    https://youtu.be/XSl0W-NsL98
    3:10

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