Successfully first launch of China’s Long March 5B


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The new colonial movement: China today successfully completed the first launch of its Long March 5B rocket, the rocket it plans to use to launch its future manned and planetary missions as well as the modules of its first space station.

The payload was the first unmanned test flight of their new upgraded manned capsule, still unnamed. It is expected that this capsule will return to Earth in the next day or so.

China’s next-generation crew carrier is also reusable for up to 10 flights, with a detachable heat shield built to handle higher-temperature returns through Earth’s atmosphere, such as those a capsule would encounter on a re-entry from a lunar mission.

The Xinhua news agency reported the primary purpose of the crew capsule test flight is to verify the ship’s re-entry technologies, such as its heat shield and recovery system. The capsule will return under parachutes and inflate airbags to cushion its landing on solid ground.

The leaders in the 2020 launch race:

7 China
6 SpaceX
6 Russia

The U.S. still leads China 10 to 7 in the national rankings.

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2 comments

  • V-Man

    Their new spacecraft looks a lot like a Dragon.

    A simple case of “function defines form” — or something more nefarious at hand?

  • V-Man: Actually, the basic design concepts were copied from Russia’s Soyuz capsule. This does not mean however that China didn’t incorporate concepts stolen from the new American capsules.

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