back to article China successfully launches its biggest-ever space truck to fire up its space station ambitions

China has successfully launched a prototype of its next-generation spacecraft. The unmanned craft launched yesterday afternoon from a testing site in Wengchang on the country's southernmost tip. A capsule prototype detached from the rocket eight minutes after take off and was sent into orbit. The craft used a modified version …

  1. Cuddles Silver badge

    Important difference

    "By comparison, that is about... a sixth of NASA's Space Launcher System, which can carry 130 tonnes."

    Of course, unlike the SLS, the Long March 5b has the advantage of actually existing.

    1. Julz Silver badge

      Re: Important difference

      And uses 21st century components.

    2. Mike Richards

      Re: Important difference

      Will anyone take a bet on the Long March 9 (140 tonnes to orbit) flying before the SLS? It's currently scheduled for 2030 so it seems likely.

    3. StargateSg7 Bronze badge

      Re: Important difference

      Am I missing something?

      Nasa's Space Launcher System carrying capacity is set to be 130 tonnes (one U.S. ton = 2000 lbs) = 260,000 lbs (or about 117,934 kg) That is NOT actually a lot of cargo weight capacity! I just realized that fancy big black triangular aerospacecraft parked at YVR already carries four 40 foot containers where the cargo weight carrying capacity is 32,500 kg each (71,650 lbs) which is a total of 286,600 lbs or 143 tonnes ........ :-O :-O Whoooooooooaaaaaaahhhhh !!!!

      Soooooo, TIL (Today I Learned) our low to high orbit space cargo capacity is a LOT LARGER than I thought!


  2. PM.

    China takes the crown in rocket development

    um, pardon the pun

  3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    How many shipping containers can it carry?

  4. Bearshark

    Well I guess China will need to mine (steal) more intellectual property in order to make the space program a little safer.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Just like all that V2 technology the USA developed all by itself?

      1. mickaroo

        I thought the USA stole the scientists, not the technology...

        1. Gene Cash Silver badge

          Nope... they also snatched several dozen full V-2s, and quite a few railroadcarsfulls of engines, pumps, etc.

          The US spent a while modifying V-2s and launching them to see what happened before we ran out and actually had to produce home-grown versions.

          Besides when you steal the scientists that produced it, what are you stealing besides the actual technology?

        2. IGotOut Silver badge

          To be fair, they didn't steal a mass murdering scientist, they just offered him a job and then promoted him to the top position.

          1. MyffyW Silver badge

            To be accurate, Werner von Braun didn't actually murder anyone (as far as I know) but acquiesced in being part of a system that did on a frighteningly efficient and horrendously large scale, sometimes to the direct benefit of the programmes he worked on.

            1. IGotOut Silver badge

              "To be accurate, Werner von Braun didn't actually murder anyone"...

              He was present when thousands slave labourers were beaten, shot, starved, poisoned and worked to death. He was a key player in that scenario, he may not have done it directly, but he should have been held accountable.

      2. RichardEM

        You don't steal any thing from a defeated foe. You confiscate there technology besides much of there teck was based on the work done by Robert H Goddard who continued to develop rockets till his death in 1945.

    2. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

      Well I guess China will need to mine (steal) more intellectual property in order to make the space program a little safer.

      To be fair, NASA got a lot of help from Russia who are the top-of-the-tree when it comes to rocket engines.

      So Chinese space agency do not necessarily get their "secrets" from NASA (or the US for that matter). All they need is for Premier Xi to ask Putin and the "deed is done", Comrade.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who are we.

    Any Huawei components in there?

  6. Sirius Lee

    And rocket chemistry

    In his book 'Ignition!' Dr John Clark provides an informal history of the development of liquid rocket propellants from the perspective of someone who was there (working within the post-war US navy research program). Although published in 1971 it is a very readable book with a foreward by some friend of his and fellow chemist called Isaac Asimov. In the book he describes how US research into propellants was informed by the extensive work undertaken by the Germans before and during WW2. After the war German reasearch and stockpiles of hyrogen peroxide were split between the Brits and the US for further study.

    So scientists may have been sequestered but here is an account showing how the German chemical technology was acquired and further developed. Clark describes how in practice the German chemistry, focussed on peroxides, though great for relatively low-power thrusting was not sufficiently powerful for ICBMs and, anyway, it freezes at a relatively high temperature. Instead, being able to work with existing stocks allowed US chemists to discard peroxides quickly and focus on other fuels and oxidizers and ultimately the predominant use of various forms of hyrdazine and nitric acid based oxidizers.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Take equal rights seriouslly, until it costs us money

    NASA's Space Launcher System cant actually carry anything as it doesn't yet exist and has not launched, so unfair comparison.

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