A new parachute system was tested March 9 via a Long March-3B carrier rocket.
Credit: CCTV/Inside Outer Space Screengrab

 

 

Chinese researchers are working on a new system designed to prevent rocket boosters from falling unpredictably in areas with human activity.

Credit: CCTV-Plus/Inside Outer Space Screengrab

China Central Television (CCTV) reports that the first accurate landing of a Long March 3B booster was made possible with a parachute control system.

The system was tested on March 9 when the 54th satellite of the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System was sent into a geostationary orbit via a Long March-3B carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China’s Sichuan Province.

Credit: CCTV-Plus/Inside Outer Space Screengrab

Credit: CGTN screenshot via CCTV

 

The parachute assisted landing system can adjust its direction and posture when en route to the ground, and finally lead it to a targeted point. This test verified the feasibility of the overall scheme of the parachute control system, and also laid the foundation for further improvement.

Parachute to parafoil

“The landing area of a booster was 90 kilometers long and 30 kilometers wide in the past. The 2,700-square-kilometer landing area has been greatly scaled down as we now control the booster with parachutes and make it land in the designated area,” said Zhang Puzhuo, chief designer of the parachute control system with China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology.

Zhang Puzhuo, chief designer of the parachute control system with China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology.
Credit: CCTV-Plus/Inside Outer Space Screengrab

CCTV reports that more tests are expected this year.

Meanwhile, Chinese rocket engineers are moving forward with adopting a larger parafoil to achieve more accurate landing of spent boosters.

Go to this CCTV-Plus video at:

http://cd-pv.news.cctvplus.com/2020/0403/8139426_Preview_9397.mp4

Also watch the March 9 launch of the Long March-3B carrier rocket at:

https://youtu.be/by4-Kt3Ig_g?list=PLpGTA7wMEDFjz0Zx93ifOsi92FwylSAS3

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