CALT's latest rocket renders strike a little too close to home with a years-old SpaceX Starship concept. Chinese rip-offs of Western concepts aren't entirely recent, but CALT's latest rocket renders hit a little too close to home with a years-old SpaceX Starship design.
China recently launched a sub-orbital earth-to-earth rocket model that seems to be a little clone.
The architecture, mission model, and concept idea are all reminiscent of the SpaceX Starship.
This isn't the first time China has tried to construct a spacecraft that closely resembles SpaceX's.
It's not surprising that China has praised and closely watched what SpaceX has accomplished so far. China has long shared many bold ambitions that have specifically sought to at least meet other countries, foot for foot, in the global space race, alongside the United States, the European Union, Japan, and India. Now, in an odd turn of events, China seems to have taken a personal interest in matching the successes of Western nations in space. The result was a recent demonstration that revealed a sub-orbital earth-to-earth rocket, and while many are working on the concept, China took the prize for developing a rocket that looks just like a SpaceX Starship render from four years ago.
A prototype video was shown by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT) at the recent Chinese national space day in Nanjing showed a vertical liftoff rocket that appeared almost identical to Elon Musk's headline-grabbing SpaceX Starship. From the gleaming stainless steel exterior to the smooth separation of the first and second levels, to the general intent that China most certainly claims to have invented, everything about this device by itself.
SpaceX showed a prototype video in 2017 showing how the Starship could be used in sub-orbital flight to fly from somewhere on Earth to anywhere else in less than an hour. The corporation claimed a travel time of 39 minutes from New York to Shanghai, exceeding speeds that even the peak age of hypersonic air travel could never achieve. However, SpaceX has since concentrated on developing more affordable spaceflight concepts, including almost perfecting the capture of its first-stage rocket booster in the middle of the sea, as well as a more sophisticated cockpit experience onboard the Crew Dragon.
According to reports, China's state-sponsored CALT plans to use its Starship ripoff to deliver freight around the world by 2035 and to transport travelers by 2045. China seems to be planning to copy the SpaceX Falcon Heavy in the future, which will be available in a heavy payload lifter variant called the Long March 9. Given China's reputation for copying iconic Western items like Land Rover (aka Land Wind X7) and Rolls-Royce (aka Geely E6), it's not shocking that the country has followed suit in space.
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