GX: The New Hope (of Japan)

July 12th, 2007 by Author

When I was writing a post about Edo Rocket [1], I strarted looking at performance data for various solids, and ran across a very interestig article: GX report for 2006 at Space Launch Report. It seems to have far better information that the GX article at Wikipedia (Dr. Miao… Paging Dr. Miao!), although it probably would take just a minute for Wikipedians to, ahem… appropriate good bits once they become aware of the source.

BTW, Space Launch Report is based at Geocities, of all things. In the same time, it provides more complete coverage than Spaceflight Now, which started to flag recently. For instance, the launch of Shalit in June was not mentioned on Spaceflight Now at all, even thought it’s a significant event in some sense (Hello Iran! Can you do that?).

Anyway, GX is interesting. I used to dismiss it due to the retarded management seen driven by national pride more than good sense. As the sad story of the multi-lobed composite hydrogen tank of X.33 teaches us, an attempt to bite more than you can chew is likely to end badly. But with Japanese you never know, they might just make it work. They made H-IIA fly, after all, and that was a veritable turkey. So, in some ways I root for them. Now they only need to build a pad at Solomon islands.

1: A good exmaple would be Ares-I, pushing 238 seconds of specific impulse at sea level. Such performance makes a lunar trip less than an entirely ridiculous idea, you’ll only need a ridiculous staging scheme. It is unclear what the performance of Edo-period powders might be. Estimations which I found were about one third of aluminum perchlorate, so I suppose we are talking about 115 seconds or so. At that point it became clear to me that discussing Edo Rocket in the same mode as Rocket Girls was ludicrous in itself, so I shelved that approach.