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Aerospace. China looks to the space "Recycling"

Rome, Italy - Reusable launch systems are under evaluation

An ecologist curiosity, but this time space and not terrestrial, according to the Italian Space Agency (ASI) wrote it on its website. China, Country that notoriously protects less environment, looks to "recycling" or better to reusable launch systems. China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology of Beijing is studying a system of restoration of some rocket components finalized to the costs' fall and reaching a major competitiveness at business level. The system is currently in a development phase and consists in a series of parachute included in the first stage that are opened before rocket enters in contact with more solid levels of the terrestrial atmosphere, during return phase. On the inferior side of the rocket some airbags are installed to dampen impact with the ground. The system is different from that utilized by SpaceX that predicts re-starting of motors when rocket is ready for vertical re-entry on platform and then a precision landing. In addition the Chinese version allows extra-fuel saving necessary for landing, permitting to have more room for payload and to reduce production of space debris, potentially dangerous. The researchers engaged in the project report that parachute system-airbag will be supported by a sophisticated flight control system to lead descent phases. Although scientists are optimist on project working, there are still some questions on safety necessary to face. The final purpose is to succeed to land the rocket in an exact point, reducing fully possibility to misdirect due to external factors (adverse weather conditions) that could make to change direction to parachute and finish rocket outside direction. In addition, the airbags should be sufficiently powerful to absorb shock due to impact of a space vehicle of heavy type. In the meanwhile studies continue and researchers of the Chinese academy consider to give an answer to these questions within 2020.

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