China Debuts New Long March 6 Booster

CNSA_logoChina successfully launched its new Long March 6 rocket from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center on Sunday, with the booster placing 20 small satellites into orbit.

Long March 6 is a three-stage small satellite launcher capable of placing up to 1,080 kg (2,381 lb) into a sun-synchronous orbit of 700 km (435 miles). It is 29.2 meters (96 feet) tall.

The first stage is powered by a single YF-100 engine that burns kerosene RP-1 and liquid oxygen (LOX). The same motor is being used in the first stage of the larger Long March 5 booster, which will debut next year.

Long March 6’s second stage uses a single YF-115 engine powered by kerosene RP-1 and kerosene. Its third stage has four YF-85 motor powered by hydrogen peroxide and kerosene.

  • Christopher James Huff

    “Long March 6’s second stage uses a single YF-115 engine powered by kerosene RP-1 and kerosene.”

    I think you’re going to need an oxidizer in there somewhere.

    The third stage uses hydrogen peroxide? That’s a weird choice. Might be worth the trouble if they’re keeping the third stage active for extended periods of time, but why would they do that in a low-orbit smallsat launcher?

  • Sam Moore

    The developer of CZ-6, SAST, is also working on a LOX/H2O2 space tug called TY-1. My guess is they used the same basic design to reduce development costs, but I haven’t seen enough on the third stage to know for sure.

  • Long live the tradition of building a small rocket to test part of the eventual big rocket!

    Saturn I became the Saturn V, Falcon 1 became Falcon 9, Delta III became Delta IV (that wasn’t intentional, but it happened), and now LM-6 will become the LM-5.

  • Snofru Chufu

    … and Angara. Another topic: What about your own testing in Tuscom?

  • stoffer

    I think their idea was to simplify processing on the ground and they wanted some non-toxic hypergolic equivalent. H2O2 works fine. It is somewhat corrosive but nobody would want to have LOX spilled on them either.

  • jjimrussels

    Annnnddd this is why the Chinese are beating us. Hate to admit it, but I don’t see the USA getting back on track until TRUMP reaches the Whitehouse in 2016. We’ll see about China’s “rocket” when that happens.

  • windbourne

    OK already.

  • Christopher James Huff

    I’d much rather have LOX spilled on me. High test hydrogen peroxide will cause burns in seconds and has high potential for spontaneously igniting. LOX will just splash off skin. It’s a problem if it wets clothing, but hydrogen peroxide will wet clothing more readily. And a LOX spill will evaporate far more quickly and without the risk of leaving hazardous explosive compounds behind.

    Lots of people seem to try using hydrogen peroxide to simplify things. A bit like nitrous oxide, it never seems to work out that way.

  • Snofru Chufu
  • Christopher James Huff