China is building a ship to carry out sea launches of carrier rockets

According to online sources, China is building a specially designed ship designed to carry out sea launches of space launch vehicles. It is expected to be ready for launches next year.

Image Source: China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC)

According to available data, the dimensions of the new type of vessel are 162.5 × 40 meters. It is expected to be used near the new spaceport in Haiyang City, located on the east coast of Shandong Province. The ship will be equipped with the necessary equipment to support the launches of Long March 11 launch vehicles, the larger Zelong 1 (Smart Dragon), and future liquid-fueled launch vehicles. The source notes that in the future, the new ship is planned to be used as a landing platform for the first stages of launch vehicles, similar to how it is implemented in SpaceX, which uses such platforms to land the first stages of Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy.

To date, China has already launched two Long March 11 solid-propellant missiles from the Yellow Sea using converted barges. This allowed the Celestial Empire to become the third country to launch a space rocket from a floating platform. Prior to that, similar starts were implemented in Russia and the United States. At the beginning of the year, it was announced that China intends to conduct two or three long March 11 missile launches at sea, but so far none of them have taken place. It is expected that the appearance of a ship intended for sea launches will help reduce the load on the country’s four main launch sites. So far, China has completed 41 launches of carrier rockets this year, setting a new national record. It is noteworthy that the United States has so far completed only 39 launches, including the Rocket Lab missiles launched from the site in New Zealand.

With the emergence of new commercial aerospace companies, plans to create large satellite constellations, and preparations for flights to a new orbital station, sea launch will provide China with more options for launching ships into outer space. In addition, the flexible positioning of the launch pad makes it easier to choose the optimal flight path so that spent rocket stages fall into the sea, and not onto land, where people may be nearby.

At the same time, China will be able to conduct launches closer to the equator, which means that less fuel will be required to launch rockets into space due to more efficient use of the Earth’s rotation energy. It is also known that the base in Haiyan will have the capacity to produce up to 20 solid-propellant missiles per year. In the future, more sophisticated carriers operating on liquid fuel will be produced here.

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Source: 3DNews – все новости сайта by 3dnews.ru.

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