China is building a new rocket to fly its astronauts to the moon

China has revealed that it is working on a new rocket that could send astronauts to land on the moon.

The new launch vehicle was unveiled at the 2020 China Space Conference in Fuzhou, east China on Sept. 18. The new launcher is designed to send a 27.6 ton spacecraft into trans-lunar injection. Mass at liftoff will be about 4.85 million pounds, nearly triple that of China’s current largest rocket, the Long March 5.

Notably, the new rocket will feature three, 16.4-foot-diameter cores, in a style similar to two American rockets: United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV Heavy and SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy.

The as-yet-unnamed rocket will be 285 feet long, with a three-stage central core, and it is being designed at the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT) in Beijing.

Related: The latest news about China’s space program

“The world is seeing a new wave of lunar exploration, crewed or

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Watch ULA Launch a Spy Satellite on a Delta IV Heavy Rocket Tonight

A Delta Heavy IV rocket launches NASA’s Parker Solar Probe from Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral in August 2018.

A Delta Heavy IV rocket launches NASA’s Parker Solar Probe from Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral in August 2018.
Photo: Bill Ingalls/NASA (Getty Images)

A United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office will take off from Cape Canaveral Space Launch Complex-37 in Florida shortly before midnight on Wednesday. Assuming, that is, there isn’t another one of the last-minute delays that have hounded the mission for months.

The rocket and its semi-mysterious payload, dubbed NROL-44, were originally slated to take off in June. But NROL-44 was delayed until Aug. 29 with no explanation ever offered to the public, according to Ars Technica. It then malfunctioned on that date, with a faulty part causing a hotfire abort after its three RS-68 engines had already begun firing. Repairs took weeks.

NROL-44 was then scheduled to take off on Sept.

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After lengthy delays, ULA’s most powerful rocket poised to launch classified spy satellite

After many weeks of delays due to faulty equipment and bad weather, the United Launch Alliance is set to launch its most powerful rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, lofting a classified spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office. The mission is finally ready to fly a full month after the rocket’s first launch attempt, which was aborted just three seconds before liftoff.

The rocket going up on ULA’s mission is the Delta IV Heavy, a giant vehicle that consists of three rocket cores strapped together to provide extra thrust. It’s one of the most powerful rockets in the world, though it falls short of the power packed into SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy. ULA doesn’t fly the Delta IV Heavy very often, as it’s an expensive vehicle to make, but the company uses the rocket for large, heavy satellites headed to super-high orbits.

The rocket’s payload is NROL-44, and like all NRO

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US military eyes nuclear thermal rocket for missions in Earth-moon space

The U.S. military aims to get a nuclear thermal rocket up and running, to boost its ability to monitor the goings-on in Earth-moon space.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) just awarded a $14 million task order to Gryphon Technologies, a company in Washington, D.C., that provides engineering and technical solutions to national security organizations.

The money will support DARPA’s Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations (DRACO) program, whose main goal is to demonstrate a nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) system in Earth orbit. 

Related: Superfast spacecraft propulsion concepts (images)

NTP systems use fission reactors to heat propellants such as hydrogen to extreme temperatures, then eject the gas through nozzles to create thrust. This tech boasts a thrust-to-weight ratio about 10,000 times higher than that of electric propulsion systems and a specific impulse, or propellant efficiency, two to five times that of traditional chemical rockets, DARPA officials wrote in a

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Watch Firefly Aerospace test-fire its Alpha rocket in this stunning drone video

An epic set of new videos shows the fiery power of Firefly Aerospace’s forthcoming Alpha rocket.

The company showed off first-stage testing, which will certify Alpha for a test flight this fall, in new YouTube videos which include drone footage, fixed ground footage and a mix of cameras that also show off the engines swiveling to test maneuvers during flight.

“Today we performed a test of the Alpha flight first stage,” the startup company said on Twitter Sept. 20. “The four Reaver engines performed 35 seconds of thrust vector control maneuvers, challenging the flame deflectors to constrain all that Reaver power. Today’s test was a major step in Firefly’s march to first flight.”

Related: Firefly Aerospace uses rocket engine to light birthday candles in epic cake video

Firefly Aerospace’s Alpha rocket struts its stuff in videos of new testing.  (Image credit: Firefly Aerospace)

The two-stage Alpha rocket was supposed

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Watch ULA’s most powerful rocket launch a classified spy satellite



a close up of a tall building lit up at night


Just before midnight on Tuesday, the United Launch Alliance is set to launch its most powerful rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, lofting a classified spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office. The mission is finally ready to fly a full month after the rocket’s first launch attempt, which was aborted just three seconds before liftoff.

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The rocket going up on ULA’s mission is the Delta IV Heavy, a giant vehicle that consists of three rocket cores strapped together to provide extra thrust. It’s one of the most powerful rockets in the world, though it falls short of the power packed into SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy. ULA doesn’t fly the Delta IV Heavy very often, as it’s an expensive vehicle to make, but the company uses the rocket for large, heavy satellites headed to super-high orbits.

The rocket’s payload is NROL-44, and like all NRO missions, its purpose is cloaked

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You can watch a US spy satellite launch on a giant Delta IV Heavy rocket tonight. Here’s how.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A new U.S. spy satellite will launch into space early Saturday (Sept. 27) on the mightiest rocket built by the United Launch Alliance (ULA): the massive Delta IV Heavy.

The booster is set to blast off overnight at 12:10 a.m. EDT (0410  GMT) from Pad 37 here at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to carry the classified NROL-44 satellite into orbit for the  the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). You  can watch all the fiery action live online, courtesy of ULA. Launch coverage will begin about 20 minutes prior to liftoff, and you can watch the launch live here and on the Space.com homepage or directly via the ULA webcast. 

The mission has been delayed nearly a month after a rare, last-second abort on the launch pad on Aug. 29. According to ULA, the launch window lasts about 94 minutes.

Declassified: Vintage US spy satellites and

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Space Force says it will fly on a used Falcon 9 rocket for the first time

A Falcon 9 rocket launches the GPS III-03 mission in June, 2020.
Enlarge / A Falcon 9 rocket launches the GPS III-03 mission in June, 2020.

SpaceX

On Friday, the US Space Force said it would launch two critical Global Positioning System missions on a used Falcon 9 rocket next year.

Doing so will save the military $52 million, officials said, as SpaceX agreed to lower compensation for the two missions in return for flying used hardware. This represents a significant step by the Space Force toward validating the use of flight-proven first stages of a rocket for the most critical national security missions.

“We’re looking forward to this journey with SpaceX as we get even more experienced with them and reusable hardware,” said Walter Lauderdale, Space and Missile Systems Center Falcon Systems and Operations Division chief, in a call with reporters.

SpaceX previously launched a GPS mission for the US military (GPS III-01) in late 2018 and again in June of

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HyImpulse hybrid rocket motor roars to life for the first time

VALLETTA, Malta — Launch startup HyImpulse successfully tested its 16,800-pounds-force hybrid rocket motor this month at German space agency DLR’s Lampoldshausen facility.

Headquartered in Neuenstadt am Kocher, Germany, HyImpulse is developing its three-stage SL1 launch vehicle designed to carry payloads of up to 500 kilogram to Sun-synchronous orbit. The light-lift launch vehicle will be powered by twelve 16,800-pounds-force hybrid rocket motors — eight on its first stage, and four on its second stage — plus four smaller but otherwise identical engines powering its third stage.

The HyImpulse-developed hybrid rocket motor is powered by a paraffin-based fuel and liquid oxygen. The motor is designed to make use of simpler hardware than a liquid-fueled system while offering greater safety than strictly solid-fueled motors.

HyImpulse said that the Sept. 15 hot-fire test, its first, confirmed that the paraffin/LOX hybrid rocket engine performed on par with liquid hydrocarbon-based fuels. This performance was achieved utilizing

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