On December 7, the launch mission of Kuaizhou-11 solid carrier rocket was a complete success, which indicates that the Kuaizhou carrier rocket has begun to take shape and has effectively improved my country's ability to quickly enter space at low cost.

This is of great and far-reaching significance to the rapid development of my country's solid launch vehicle space transportation system. Its development process is a arduous innovation road that others have not gone through.

Innovation is to fill the gap with novel ideas

  Kuaizhou series solid rockets are "arrows" that have been honed for ten years.

10 years ago, satellite Internet and other constellation deployments were initially on the rise, and there was a demand for batch launches of satellites internationally and domestically. The solid launch vehicle has low cost, high reliability, low support requirements, and strong rapid launch capabilities, which can meet the market demand.

The research and development team of China Aerospace Sanjiang Group Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as "Aerospace Sanjiang") has a keen insight that the development of small solid launch vehicles will become an important development direction to support the construction of an aerospace power.

  The innovative ideas of the Kuaizhou series of rockets sprouted.

The first "born" was Kuaizhou-1 with a smaller carrying capacity.

In 2017, its upgraded version, Kuaizhou-1A, successfully achieved the first flight test of China's commercial spaceflight, and it is still launched on a regular basis.

  However, the carrying capacity must be further improved, and the gap of the 1-ton solid launch vehicle must be filled.

In 2014, Kuaizhou-11 solid launch vehicle began to tackle key problems.

  At that time, many technologies were still blank in China, and there was no development experience to learn from.

  "It is to take an innovative road, a road that no one else has taken. Only in this way can the Kuaizhou rocket stand out." Liang Jiqiu, the chief designer of the Kuaizhou series of rockets, asked to tackle core and key technologies in independent research and development.

  Not to repeat the old way, but to benchmark the world's advanced technology and seize the high ground of technological innovation, we must achieve the ultimate in innovation.

For this reason, the R&D team is obsessed with "innovation" at the beginning of the design.

The overall design plan of the high-load ratio rapid launch vehicle that they finally came up with was considered by the review experts as "very novel in thinking, strong in innovation, and high in technical indicators."

  On the surface, compared with Kuaizhou-1A, Kuaizhou-11 solid launch vehicle only has an increase in size and thrust, but in fact, the difficulty of its development increases exponentially, and many risks are unpredictable.

  Explosion happened!

During the first ground fire test, the engine exploded.

In an instant, black smoke billowed, the engine, test bench, and test equipment were all blown up, and the test site was in a mess.

  "The most frustrating thing is that this means that everything is zero, and the previous efforts and progress are all in vain." said engine designer Jiao Xiaoliang.

  On the road of innovation, failure is inevitable, but more importantly, learn from failures and muster the courage to start all over again.

That night, the team held an emergency meeting to list all possible glitches.

Then, through a lot of simulation and test work, verify and eliminate one by one, find the cause of failure, and solve technical difficulties.

  Commercial rockets must be reliable and cost-effective. To this end, the R&D team innovatively introduced private supporting manufacturers.

But this also brings new problems—in order to improve the reliability of the rocket engine, the team tried to adopt an integrated solution for key components, but due to the special structure of the shell and high performance requirements, it is difficult for the technology of private supporting manufacturers to meet the requirements.

  Encounter a problem, solve it.

The R&D team is stationed in private supporting manufacturers, following up with production throughout the process, analyzing test data, and ensuring the development progress.

Hard work paid off. In the end, they conquered the integrated technology, realized high reliability and low cost, and the rocket engine passed the test smoothly.

  "The bold introduction of private enterprises has not only improved the efficiency of resource allocation, reduced product production costs, but also improved the efficiency of R&D organizations and shortened the product production cycle." said Feng Jiehong, Secretary of the Party Committee and Chairman of Aerospace Sanjiang, this is also the development of Kuaizhou series rockets In the process, the "fast boat mode" was created.

Innovation is countless failures and repetitions

  For aerospace development, power comes first.

After solving the rocket power, the power of the upper stage of the rocket - the liquid attitude control power system has become another "blocker" in the development process.

  "The road to development is too tortuous, and the number of failures in the middle and then overturned and restarted can't be counted on one hand, not to mention the loss of time and cost." The person in charge of the system design said.

Due to the technical difficulty of the system and the difficult development progress, the launch time has been postponed repeatedly.

  Just when everyone was at a loss, Liang Jiqiu proposed an innovative technology that realized a new technical route for the integrated design of the structure and function of the liquid attitude control power system. This is really a bright light in the dark night.

  But even so, the verification test of the liquid attitude control power system still experienced five years of twists and turns of "success after the first failure, followed by failure and success". Gnaw down this 'hard bone'."

  With a breakthrough in the power technology problem, the rocket will have enough thrust; Payload, the choice left to the satellite is even greater.

  For this reason, the R&D team racked their brains, fighting for every "gram", and exhausted time and energy in structure optimization, material screening and physical verification.

In the end, they innovatively used new composite materials to carry out a lightweight design for the main structure of the rocket body, which greatly reduced the weight of the rocket body.

The R&D team also tried their best to find out the rocket design deviation, find out the rocket design margin, and reduce it if possible, so that the rocket's load ratio has been greatly improved.

  But the head-on is another "blocker"-the rocket is large in size, large in load, complex in working conditions, and the scale of the transportation launch system has also become very large, which makes it difficult to launch the whole rocket maneuver, and the "speed" of Kuaizhou will be difficult to guarantee. .

  "The load carried by the transport launch system is too great, and many technologies were tried for the first time at that time." The team members in charge of the ground launch system lamented that innovation is not easy. They are exposed to the scorching sun during the day and stay up late at night to analyze data experiments.

In a fierce battle, through the integrated design of the existing measurement, launch and control system, the design of the intelligent test network of the entire launch vehicle system, and the optimization and integration of the launch process, the large-tonnage vehicle-mounted mobile launch technology has been overcome, and "one vehicle, one arrow" has been realized. "One-click" quick test launch.

Innovation is the optimal solution to each problem

  In the development of the Kuaizhou-11 solid launch vehicle, each subsystem is faced with technical "bottlenecks" and difficulties, and the optimal solution to each problem can ensure comprehensive reliability.

  Improving reliability can increase the success rate of rocket launches.

To this end, the control system team boldly used new methods such as generalization and modular design to improve the overall reliability of the control system; the software professional team tested the correctness of nearly 200 normal and abnormal working conditions during the rocket test launch flight ;During the quality review, the R&D team boldly introduced cross-assessment, adding "double insurance" to the quality; the measurement and control communication team compared hundreds of parameters and hundreds of thousands of lines of data overnight, splicing out the most comprehensive and accurate results.

  "The review experts believe that our analysis of the impact of a certain factor is not enough." Facing such a problem, the structural professional team has only one belief: "If it is not enough, make it up." In order to dispel doubts, improve the reliability of a cabin separation technology , they innovatively adopted a zero-gravity test method, successfully completed the verification, and achieved the expected results.

  The most "headache" for the environmental professional team is how to accurately simulate the flight environment of the rocket. However, the existing test conditions cannot carry out tests on this "monster". Based on the idea of ​​"zero to whole", we carried out research and successfully solved the problem of full-rocket modal test of large and medium-sized solid rockets.

  After ten years of hard work, it is precisely with this tenacity and hard work that the Kuaizhou launch vehicle research and development team has overcome obstacles all the way, and has successively overcome the liquid attitude control power system, high-thrust rocket engine, high-load-ratio rapid A series of advanced technologies such as launch, large-tonnage vehicle-mounted mobile launch, and fast test launch without support further highlight the characteristics of Kuaizhou series launch vehicles such as "mobile test docking, mobile launch, mobile cloud measurement and control", improve rapid launch capabilities, and adapt to diversification Launch mission.

  Wearing the stars and wearing the moon, going deep into remote mountain valleys, these are nothing...Bold ideas, careful verification, and meticulous verification, in the end, these astronauts in ordinary positions created the victory of Kuaizhou-11 solid launch vehicle bit by bit.

  (Our reporter Zhan Yuan) (Source: Guangming Daily)