China Launches reusable Spaceplane

I’ll give them this: it doesn’t looked derived from Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser (which I work on ), the X-37B, or anything I know of Russian designs.

Their development goal seems a bit baffling though.

They want this to be a horizontal SSTO (takes off and lands with no stages, only the spacecraft). Unless they plan on making it nuclear powered (as in throw bombs out the back), I can’t think of a single form of thrust that’d offer them useful payload.

It looks EXACTLY like Orbital ATK’s Next Generation Launcher (NGL) – a solid and liquid fueled rocket designed for National Security, NASA science missions, and commercial flights.

China Rocket on top, ours on bottom:

That’s a negative.

The Chinese rocket, the Long march 2F (not the space plane riding on it, here’s a picture of it) derives from the Russian Proton. It’s stretched out a bit with some different boosters.

It’s completely liquid powered with UDMH. None of our rockets use UDMH, only the Russians do at this point. It’s also old, very old. Long March 2s have been built by the Chinese since the 1970s based on an ICBM they’ve been building since 1971.

Equally, the Chinese aren’t using solid rocket boosters on the Long march 2F or any others in this series.

Finally, the ATK Rocket, which is now a Northrop Grumman rocket called Omega, has been cancelled.

It was never built to completion, and it was never going to be human rated as solids suck as human transport, but the technology is similar to the solid rocket boosters we’re putting on the SLS.

Which are also similar to the ones we used to put on the space shuttle.

Frankly, it is the designation ‘Made in China’ That throws me off. Can’t say. I would want to fly in that.

What it says on the tin should be your first worry.

We don’t use UDMH, or any derivitives of it anymore because it’s highly toxic. 100 ppm is enough for it to start attacking your brain. Around 330 ppm you get convulsions and die.

…And the Chinese recently dropped one of these UDMH-powered rockets near a school.


Well that clunker just looks like something along the lines of an old X-15, and probably works about as well. A simple space capable plane. So what is the big hoo ha

That’s another negative, the X-15 doesn’t have a craning fuselage.

Here’s that same plane from a different angle:

The X-15 also didn’t launch vertically, it was dropped from a B-52.

And then there’s the planned finished versions:

The X-15 was never a delivery vehicle for payloads into space. That’s clearly what they plan here, and we have nothing like this. The closest thing would have been Phantom Express which was also cancelled and looks very different.

Your negative is a negative. The two small wings mid plane and the fins aft are basically the same lift design. So is the general theory of a rocket based glide plane. That’s all it is. That thing ain’t gonna’ take off into space by itself. Its tiny. If it did take off into space by itself it would be 1% man and 99% rocket & fuel. No payload. It would be a worthless POS.

By the way, spare me the “negative” jargon Mr. Civilian.

Then again the Chinese are such liars that this whole thing might be a ruse to cover launching something completely different into orbit

This isn’t the same design, its two-staged, self powered and intended to put things into orbit. It’s not manned, it’s not air-launched, and it’s gone to orbit. The X-15 never did this.

It doesn’t have the same purpose or operation of the X-15. The X-15 was manned and intended as a control testing platform for the X-20, and later the Space Shuttle.

This is unmanned, orbit capable, and intended from the start to transport payload.

Later designs will take off by themselves, that’s literally what the leaked documents show. SSTO is the term they’re using.

Negative, the USAF Auxillery and Ham radio operators use it. B)

Never going to happen. Payloads of any importance require massive lift capability. A vertical takeoff vehicle that is totally reusable is never going to do that unless it morphs into something like our shuttle.

Our guys at NASA are pretty smart you know. The shuttle ended up being what it was for a reason.

EDIT: If its unmanned then why call it a plane? Its a reusable rocket that happens to glide back to earth.
Also, your article has nothing but communist sources. Right up your alley.

Nope, look at what Spacex is doing with Starlink, a mega constellation of 20,000 small sats.

China wants that, and they see this as a vehicle to build it with.

Not to mention small and Nanosats are completely running the market; large satellites are losing ground. They’re old tech, and unless your building something with optics, software defined hardware does the job just as well for far less weight.

Negative, this thing already flies and is already reusable.

Dreamchaser does this too, and it’s never going to be the size of the space shuttle. Dreamchaser is even shorter than this thing.

Space shuttle was a compromised design, it was highly dangerous, and 20x more expensive to operate than pitched. Dream chaser is being launched on top of the rocket like the Space Shuttle should have been. Without SRBs.

As the NASA administrator said back in 2007, had we kept the Saturn V we would have gotten more launches, it would have been safer and we’d have more experience in deep space.

It has wings and lands at an airfield.

To include leaked data they didn’t want people seeing. Hence why they made people in China delete pictures off their phones.