Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
China successfully launches its largest reusable rocket (globaltimes.cn)
46 points by velmu 69 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 27 comments

They launched China's largest reusable rocket. 8m tall, less than a meter wide from the images and it reached a height of just 300 meters. No orbit, no space, no payload. This is at SpaceX grasshopper levels, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grasshopper_(rocket) for comparison.

DC-X and New Shepard also launched and landed vertically and that at far higher heights.

The problem is not landing a rocket vertically, it is to launch a payload (recovery mechanisms mustn't eat up all the payload mass), make it back through atmosphere at supersonic speeds and still have means (or propellant left) to achieve a landing.

It's a good step for the chinese space company LinkSpace but pretty much non-news for others in my opinion.

Guess we’re jaded, but if it happened 10 years ago...

I found this Reuter’s story on the launch.

Exciting, if they meet their goals.


“The Beijing-based company aims to launch its next-generation RLV-T16 next year that will be capable of reaching an altitude of up to 150 kilometers, Hu said.”

“LinkSpace previously told Reuters it hoped to charge no more than 30 million yuan ($4.25 million) per reusable launch.”

"Altitude" is a weird metric for rockets because going up is useless- you immediately fall back down.

Achieving orbit requires a horizontal velocity many times higher than the vertical velocity achieved.

They may well have provided more relevant figures which the reporter or editor failed to understand the value of and consequently emitted in favor of the figure that played to their "space is up" worldview.

The title of the submission was the same as the one of the article when posting ("China successfully launches largest reusable rocket"), therefore the explanation btw.

It is news because everyone else (Europe, Japan, Russia, India) have started RLV projects to catch up with SpaceX. And it shows who is moving fastest. No surprises that it's China. Just watch how long it takes for the rest to get to this stage.

Honest question, did they steal this technology? Or have they innovated a new way to created a reusable rocket?

Sometimes just knowing that something is possible enables replication, which I bet is the case here. It’s only rocket science (rather than say jet turbine science that involves a lot of hard to uncover secrets).

My brother in-law is the VP engineering of an competitor to LinkSpace. No they didn't steal it. They don't even have access of Google!

Private aerospace startups face huge push backs from state-owned agencies for two apparent reasons: (1) most of the engineers of the startups left their job in those agencies for these startups. (2) The progresses these startups made expose how slow, bloated and inefficient the government-run agencies are. As a result of the hostility, the startups have little access to suppliers and testing facilities etc., not to mention the technological know-hows.

>> No they didn't steal it. They don't even have access of Google!

I didn't say they searched for it. Stealing isn't a Google search.

You’re being downvoted but this seems like a very legitimate question seeing as a major part of the current US/China trade dispute is appropriation of intellectual property

Parallel reinvention happens all the time. Consider steam engines, web browsers. Once a way has been found to do the thing, it's surprisingly straightforward to redo the thing.

Given that the form factor of this rocket is totally different from SpaceX's reusable hardware, it doesn't seem likely.

In my opinion the most likely explanation is that they actually have a decent engineering team.

Is all blatantly stolen from Tintin.

The new SpaceX Starship even looks like Tintin's Moon rocket :)

Hmm. Solid hypothesis. Any evidence?

It's not necessarily either steal or innovated a new way right? People don't have to steal ideas to invent the circle-shaped wheel.

I don't think they have any more access to the inner workings of a SpaceX rocket than you'd get from a Google search. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the inner workings are classified. It definitely at least falls under ITAR

So ? if stealing means imitating how the existing technology and figuring out how it works then its a fast and efficient way to learn something.

I remember that in the past, it was common for hackers criticize the concept of "intellectual property" and all exaggerated laws created to enforce it much after the original creator death. These times are over. In the new current ideology, people which doesn't follow these "laws" (which are US internal laws, that not all countries follow in the same way because not all countries agreed with the same international deals) are thieves who "steal" things.

People? I think you meant authoritarian communist dictatorships.

I wouldn't brag if my 'most advanced reusable rocket' could only climb 300 meters.

Slow propaganda news day in China?

That's something. SpaceX started around that scale too, remember? 5 years from now they might actually be getting payloads to space.

They are already getting payloads into orbit, just not on this test vehicle. They have an operational, but non-reusable small sat launcher, so they definitely mean business and aren’t just a startup with a research project.

We're holding China to the same standards as a small start up trying to prove itself these days? ok then.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact