重复利用火箭系统 - reusable rocket system

Let me teach you a little bit of Chinese:

重复 (chóngfù) 利用 (lìyòng)火箭 (huǒjiàn)系统 (xìtǒng) - reusable rocket system

You didn't really need to know that word until October 29, unless you also wanted to learn 猎鹰(lièyīng)-9 (Falcon 9). Now you do, because CASC posted some video of their reusable rocket demonstrator:

Clearly there's a long way to go before becoming a fully reusable rocket a la SpaceX or Blue Origin. For starters, that's not using rocket propulsion, but whatever jets it's using is good enough to get it away from the ground, and then good enough to keep it away from the ground, good enough to test the attitude control software and the actuators that vector the thrust. Landing a rocket with the engines on the bottom is like driving a rear-wheel drive car on a gravel road—it just wants to slide the tail end around.

For a bit more info:


One more thing that's always been on my mind about the reusable rockets: is it worth it? I never doubted for a second that SpaceX would get the technology to work. And they did—beautifully. But I've never encountered anything more than the usual platitudes about how it's obviously better to reuse rockets. It's that word obviously that makes me pause. Obviously is sometimes a code word for assumed. (whispers: Space Shuttle.) I would love to be convinced one way or the other. Honestly, taking some time to model the the thing is the only way to understand it, like OccupyDuna on Reddit.

In the meantime, here is a collection of links that I've just collected to read about the economics of reusability:

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