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China builds own part for rocket payloads

(Global Times)    09:26, June 03, 2019

A payload stands ready at a test site in a workshop of the SASC China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology. Photo: Wechat account of China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology

China's new payload for its Long March-3A launch vehicles with all core materials manufactured domestically will hopefully usher in a new era where all launch vehicles use homegrown fairings, the state space vehicle developer said on Sunday.

The new Long March 3-A payload fairing with a diameter of 4.2 meters was designed by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC)'s China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology and has been delivered, according to a company statement published on its official WeChat account on Friday.

"Previous payload fairings with a diameter of 5 meters were built with imported materials," read the statement. "The materials, especially the core materials, used this time for a new type of payload fairing were completely domestically made, laying a solid foundation for applications for all the country's launch vehicles."

The payload fairing is the nose cone of a carrier rocket, explained Pang Zhihao, a Beijing-based expert in space exploration technology.

It "is designed to protect the spacecraft or payloads like the satellite it is carrying to survive the challenges including dynamic pressure and aerodynamaic heating during the launch process through the atmosphere," he told the Global Times on Sunday.

The core materials are made from homegrown polymethacrylimide (PMI), a light and stable material with heat-resistance and noise cancelling capabilities, allowing full wave penetration that enables spacecraft including satellites to receive and send radio signals, according to the statement.

"The homegrown PMI is already as good as imported in terms of mechanical and processing properties, and it offers what it takes to manufacture full-wave fairing," Gao Kun, project chief engineer and CASC official, was quoted as saying in the statement.

Gao vowed to promote the use of more new materials to build full-wave payload fairings for all the country's rockets.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Xian Jiangnan, Bianji)

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