China's new-generation manned launch vehicle may have a reusable first stage that can make a vertical soft landing, Science and Technology Daily reported Friday.
The reusable first stage can perform engine deceleration during the reentry, and control itself and decelerate by pneumatic rudders, said Wang Xiaojun, head of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, which is under China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.
During the landing, the first stage will be further decelerated and secured by a mesh-like recovery system on the ground, which will allocate more returning components from the rocket to the ground to reduce the launch vehicle load, Wang told a recent international symposium on manned space flight development.
The new-generation manned launch vehicle will adopt a modular and universal design with both manned and cargo transport capabilities.
It will adopt a two-stage configuration with a low-Earth-orbit carrying capacity of about 14 tonnes for near-Earth space station missions, and a three-stage-plus-booster configuration with a Lunar-transfer-orbit carrying capacity of about 27 tonnes for explorations beyond the moon.
China's current manned space program mainly uses Long March-2F, Long March-7, and Long March-5B carrier rockets.