Original use of rockets dates to ancient times in China when Taoist alchemists were in search of the elixer of life. In their quest, they accidently mixed up the concoction known as Gunpowder. The exact period is up to question, with some claims reading as far back before the common era. Some sources also reading as late as the battle of Kai Feng Fu where the Chinese army mobilized and used black-powder weapons.
Early Chinese black-powder weapons ranged from fire arrows (either gunpowder-propelled arrows launched en'masse, making them the first rocket, or arrows ignited through the use of gunpowder), bombs, and grenades.
By 998CE a reference to rocketry can be found in The Mirror of Research that states a Chinese inventor named Tang Fu created a rocket with an iron head.
The earliest self propelled "rocket" systems may have been developed in 1264 in the form of the "Ground Rat" firework. This toy having said to have frieghtened Emperess Kung Sheng during a feast in her son's - Emperor Lizong's - honor.
The earliest known text though dedicated to rockets - the Huolongjing - makes a mention of the first multi-stage rocket known as the "Fire Dragon issuing from Water" (Huo Long Shu Shui).
Modern Chinese RocketsEdit
Despite the cultural heritage in rocketry rocket technology sat more-or-less dormant in China for several centuries. Various amateur groups however dabbled in rocketry. These groups formed under the Chinese Community Enrichment programs to build social bonds between like-minded people (and in some cases forward technology). Many of these groups were military based, being ran by current or former members of the NPCLAA or NPCLAF in or around their bases.
Furthering of Rocket technology started at the Chinese air-base Deep Gobi-1 - or Gobi 1 - where Zhou Henjibou was granted permission to pursue a high-flying bombing air-craft. Contacting his friend Ai Daohue the pursuit began.
Type-1 RocketEditThe first rocket developed by Ai Daohue and his team was the Type-1. Known largely as a proof-of-concept design the Type-1 showed great potential and reached altitude varying from a quarter of a mile to a mile on a mix of alchohol and liquid oxygen. The design was painfully simple, composed mostly of the tanks, mixing chamber and valves, the hull, and low-lying wings.
However in its mission it proved successfull and the Chinese command granted them the grants needed to pursue development in coordination with Zhou Henjibou's "High Altitude Bomber" project.
Type-2 RocketEditThe Type-2 rocket was the second generation of modern Chinese rocket. Increasing its size and working on every angle to increase its payload capacity Ai and his team developed a powerfull and high-flying rocket system. Although it proved to be very unstable in flieght and the high-pressure fuel showed to be very unreliable.
A majority of its test fires ended in catostrophic failure. However, in an attempt to overcome these failures and continue the project Ai Daohue took what very few officers do in the Chinese military: gambled.
The OARP launchesEdit
Taking the chances Ai petitioned to the Chinese command to allow them to launch the OARP satellite project to prove the ability of the Type-2 design. The process of approval took several months of pleading. But in the end, the military accepted the offer and allowed Ai to launch their expensive toy.
Against the odds both launches managed to go off without them exploding. However the second launch was delayed several times when it was found the ethanol-water tank had sprung a leak.
Several parts were also melted off in thefirst launch.
Learning from the Type-2 launches and opting to not try their luck further sattelite and equipment launches were delayed so the team could pursue rocket stability and reliability. Attempts at improving on the designs from forging the body in lighter metals to decrease strain on the engines to use of thread-locker on the bolts were pursued to little success. Test launches of "Type-2 B" rockets were of non-satisfactory ability and failed as equally as before, or slightly less.
Planning however for the next stage of development didn't end and while stability and reliability measures where pursued and members of the growing rocket-team went back to the drawing board to develop new systems.
On a fresh start the now multi-stage system utilized was proposed with auxillary rockets mounted on the side of the main body to provide support initial lift-off. Explosive bolts, like those use in jet cock-pit windows for ejection were implamented to dispose of the support thrusters once they had burned their fuel.
The rocket was made twice as large and could lift far-heavier systems far highier than the Type-2.
However, they still live stability.
In 1975 it was proposed that the program switch to a refined gasoline known as "VS-1 ". The request was followed up on until the summer of 1976.
VS-1 proved to be the godsend the program needed and the stability of the new fuel proved to be far-better than the ethanol-LOX mix currently in use.
Preliminary testings proved to be extremly successfull with a 90% success rate (the one failure being attributed to improperly treated bolts and poor welds on the tanks). Verticle launches were rapidly schedueled and were made without issue. The un-hindered range of the Type-3 was put at 200km above Earth.
Following the two succesfull launches of the Type-3 model Kaanshou was quickly mobilized for launch and was sent into orbit in mid/late November. The launch was a success, allowing the IB unrestricted - if not fuzzy - listening access to large-scale public broadcasts from wherever Kaanshou is flying over.