China’s Long March 934 may beat SLS Block 2 to orbit and beats its minimum payload as well

by | Feb 2, 2017 | Uncategorised | 0 comments

Drawing of Long March 932 Courtesy: CALT

Drawing of Long March 932 Courtesy: CALT

While USA has decided to only proceed with the SLS block 1B for the time being, capable of lofting circa 100 metric tons to low Earth orbit (LEO), there is, of ocurse, the promise, of a Block 2 version to follow using advanced solid or new liquid fuel boosters carrying a minimum of 130 metric tons to LEO. China has decided to eschew solid rocket boosters for its new Long March 9 (CZ-9) heavy lift equivalent to the US SLS but instead will use four liquid fuel boosters powered by a liquid oxygen (LOx)/Kerosene combination of propellants. In going straight for this design in a project set to start within the next five years, the booster is reported to be able carry 140 metric tons to LEO, and 50 metric tons to a trans lunar orbit.

Published drawings of China’s new Long March 934 (CZ-934) heavy lift rocket configuration shows a rocket roughly equivalent to a Saturn V core but with four boosters attached to it. It uses a first stage powered by LOx/Kerosene, with a second stage powered by the cryogenic combination of LOx and Liquid hydrogen. A third stage will also use this propellant combination.

This leaves the prospect of NASA astronauts being beaten by China’s Taikonauts in a race to return mankind to the Moon. Well, that is, unless the new Trump administration orders work to start on advanced liquid fuel boosters for SLS Block 2. Neither the Block 1 or 1b version has a payload capability large enough to carry a lunar lander as well as the Orion caspule/service module to lunar orbit. However, it may be possible for an early manned landing mission to be performed if a two launch architecture with the Orion and lander sent separately to the Moon for a lunar rendezvous to allow crew transfer, or, alternatively with an Earth Orbital Rendezvous (EOR) to join Orion up with the lander and a transfer stage in LEO.


About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned Seradata database. Trusted by over 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, Seradata is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to

Related Articles




nasaspacexecoreviewsissesaArianespacevideochinaFalcon 9v1.2FT Block 525virgin galacticULAfalcon 9RoscosmosevaDGAspacewalkaviation weekaressoyuzIGTInternational Space StationRocket LabBeidouawardsBlue OriginspaceStarlinkSatellite broadcastingrussiamoonboeingAirbus DSISROCargo Return VehiclemarsblogresearchOneWebspaceshiptwojaxaorionmarsimpactdelayhyperbolaEutelsatdemocratrocketlunarhypertextobamagoogle lunar prizelaunchVegabarack obamaconstellationSEStourismnorthfiguresthales alenia spacespaceflightnode 2fundedIntelsatRaymond Lygo2009Lockheed MartinExpress MD-2Elon MuskAtlas Vromess2dassault aviationaviationLucy2008wk2sstlukradiomissilesuborbitaldocking portexplorationAriane 5 ECAVirgin OrbittestinternetLong March 2D/2sts-122Ariane 5Northrop GrummanSLSChina Manned Space EngineeringElectronflightspace tourism2010cotsnewspapermissile defensegalileospaceportExpress AMU 1Long March 4Cbuildspace stationaltairsoyuz 2-1aProton Minternational astronautical congressshuttlespace shuttleEuropean Space AgencyLauncherOneCosmosIntelsat 23scaled compositesnew yorkrulesAriane 6hanleybudgetatvVietnamshenzhoucongressMojaveboldenLong March 2COrbital ATKInmarsatcnesnew shepardiaclunar landerGuiana Space CenterkscApollolawsSpace Systems/LoralUK Space AgencyLong March 4BKuaizhou 1AILSprotonUS Air ForceTalulah RileydarpaElectron KSFalcon 9v1.2 Block 5Vega CeuAstriumSkylonpicturebaseusaastronautdragonlanderfiveeventTelesatNorth KoreaSSLAprilSNC50thinterviewLong MarchSea LaunchfalconWednesdaycustomerlinkatlantissuccessor