Military Future : China’s Space Missile

Military Future : China’s Space Missile

Military Future : China’s Space Missile : In early 2020 a group of researchers received the National Award for Excellence in Innovation for their work on China’s most sophisticated submarine-launched nuclear missile, the JL-3. The group is among only nine others to have received the prestigious award.

The National Award for Excellence in Innovation originated in 2017 and is designed to be given once every three years. The award was first bestowed upon teams devoted to the BeiDou satellite system, the Long March-5 rocket, and the warship integrated electricity system at the PLA Naval University of Engineering.

The People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force, the entity in charge of China’s ballistic missiles, is creating its third generation SLBM JL-3, a missile capable of traveling nearly 7,500 miles. That distance would enable the missile to reach the US even when fired from the Chinese coast. A few experimental flights of the missile were conducted in 2018 and 2019. Chinese military observers have affirmed that the recent missile tests signify China’s attempt to protect itself against the United States.

The JL-3 missile’s predecessor, the JL-2, had a range of roughly 4,500 miles and was used in 2015 on the Type 094A nuclear submarines for operational patrol. The new JL-3 missile is expected to be used with the next generation Type 096 submarine in 2025.

Last year, China’s DF-17 missiles were groundbreaking due to their hypersonic glider technology. However, the DF-17 is believed to be powered by a traditional rocket engine before it transitions to gliding. In contrast, the hypersonic pre-cooled aerospace engine is more sophisticated as it can maintain cruise flights at over five times the speed of sound, enabling it to power supersonic cruise missiles and aircraft.

The technology in the pre-cooled aerospace engine is a major feat of engineering. In essence, the engine takes in and pre-cools air that overheats during the hypersonic flight. Currently, the most impressive engine is the British Sabre, produced initially for the space plane Skylon. It is expected that Britain will begin building and experimenting with a prototype this year.

The scientists involved in space docking systems were given an award for discovering how to link spaceships to a space station in orbit while both are traveling at an orbital velocity of 4.9 miles per second. Appreciable progress has also been made on constructing a permanent Chinese space station, which is expected to be finished in 2022.

After thorough space docking and detaching with Tiangong-1 and Tiangong-2, China assessed quick docking technology in 2017 with a cargo spaceship and experimental space station Tiangong-2. Owing to the much-improved space docking, spaceships can now prepare for more efficient docking at space stations. The benefits of this development include fuel conservation, more time for emergency missions, and a more enjoyable experience for astronauts.

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