Five pieces of news are worthy of attention this week. The first relates to CASC’s 4th Academy (aka AASPT)‘s 115 seconds test of a 3.5m-diameter 500-ton thrust solid-fueled rocket engine in their test facilities of Bailuyuan (白鹿原), Xi’an, on Tuesday October 19. The sheer size and power of this solid rocket booster are impressive: with a diameter of 3.5m and 500 tons of thrust, it is the most powerful solid-fueled engine ever tested by China
. This achievement highlights China’s ambition in solid-fueled propulsion in recent years, when almost none of the Long March rockets use solid propellant - except the light-lift Long March 11. Academy director Ren Quanbin declared in an interview to CCTV that they were planning to go even further and design a 5-segment 1000-ton thrust solid rocket engine
. If we learned this week
that the 200t and 500t engines are to equip the future Jielong-3 and 3A rockets, manufactured by a commercial spinoff of CALT called China Rocket, the purpose of the future 1000t thrust solid-fueled engine remains uncertain.
Secondly, the commercial launch startup CAS Space tested a launch vehicle erector system
, which can be used to provide more flexible launch location options for the company. A video released by CAS Space shows a large rocket being raised by the erector system, noteworthily the rocket has a CAS logo on one side.
Third, the Shijian-21 satellite was launched on 24 October
onboard a Long March-3B rocket from Xichang. The satellite was developed by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST), also known as CASC’s 8th Academy, and will be allegedly used for space debris mitigation technology
testing and verification.
Fourth, we saw an announcement last week
from the Government of Ningbo with more details on the city’s commercial launch site. The announcement last week primarily referred to the Ningbo Linhai Launch Support Facility Construction Project, which will include a rocket assembly test plant, a temporary control center, and the launch site itself. The launch site calls for a total investment of RMB 20B, and will be completed during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025).
Lastly, We saw an article from CALT this week
on the different variants of the LM-2F rocket, namely the T and Y. The major difference is the escape tower, which is present on the LM-2FY, with the article artfully referring to the tower-less LM-2FT as “bald”.