– News from May 1, 2018 –
The Long March 8 rocket was originally intended as an average launcher. It was thought to offer an intermediate capability between Long March 6 and Long March 7. But it seems that Beijing has new plans for this rocket: the first stage of the rocket would return to Earth.
Long March 8 will be an adaptation of existing launchers. It will resume broadly the first floor of the Long March 7 and the second floor of the Long March 3A. The novelty: the engines of the first stage will be redesigned to allow reignition and modulation of pushing necessary for the recovery way SpaceX. The rocket will also have feet for landing and ailerons. The originality of Long March 8 will come from its powder boosters, which we are less used to seeing on reusable designs. These will also be recovered using parachutes. The Long March 8 could start its test flights as early as 8. In China, studies are also underway to transform the Long March 6 in the same way.
The Asian giant seems well divided on the attitude that must be adopted in the face of reuse. Some of its players are convinced that America is wasting its time and that we must take advantage of the opportunity to place Chinese launchers on the international market. Others would like to follow as quickly as possible the path traced by Elon Musk.
Image Credit CC 竹 水 声 [CC BY 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons