China is developing a fully reusable heavy missile

China is developing a fully reusable heavy missile

China's launcher manufacturers appear to be developing a fully reusable version of the Changzheng-9 heavy rocket needed for the country's projects. Like SpaceX's Starship, the rocket will be operating on liquid methane and oxygen.

China's space programme has made extraordinary progress in recent years, and in 2018, the country successfully planted a rover called Yutou-2 on the back of the moon. More recently, China also delivered the first lunar samples from the Apollo era to Earth and successfully completed its first landing on Mars. Meanwhile, the country continues to assemble its new space station.

However, this is only the beginning. Like other players in the space market, China is also planning to expand its projects over the next 15 years. To this end, China's space agency is developing a project for a new super-load Changzheng-9 launch vehicle. This missile, in cooperation with Russia, will mainly be used for the construction of the country's future lunar research station.

Physically, this giant rocket will consist of three steps and four side accelerators, with the first stage and accelerators using a mixture of paraffin and liquid oxygen.

Initially, we knew that China wanted to make at least part of this missile multiple, and it seems that these plans have changed slightly. Long Lehao, the chief designer of the Changzheng missile series, recently announced that China is planning to develop a fully reusable version of the mega-missile.

This launch vehicle will operate on the same fuel as Starship SpaceX . This approach provides productivity benefits and reduces soot generation and coking problems in reuse.

The first stage of the launch vehicle will be equipped with twenty-six engines and will be able to deploy up to one hundred and fifty tons of payloads into low-Earth orbit, sixty-five tons into geo-transit orbit and fifty tons on the Moon. Physically, the rocket will have a diameter of 10.6 metres, a height of 110 metres and an take-off mass of 4,122 tons. According to Long Lehao, the launch vehicle could be operational as early as 2035 and is likely to be developed with a one-time version.

Finally, it should be remembered that China is also developing another heavy three-stage rocket designed to send Chinese astronauts to the Moon, a two-step option that could take its first flight in 2026.