China's rocket scientists and engineers have been striving to build reusable rocket models for several years, and they have made substantial progress via technology demonstrations.
Their latest advance was a successful re-ignition test of a 130-metric ton, heavy-thrust liquid-propellant engine that will be tasked with lifting the country's reusable carrier rockets now under development.
During the test, which took place in Xi'an, Shaanxi province on Saturday morning, the new reusable engine was ignited twice and worked well according to the Academy of Aerospace Propulsion Technology in Xi'an, a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp
During the test, which took place in Xi'an, Shaanxi province on Saturday morning, the new reusable engine was ignited twice and worked well according to the Academy of Aerospace Propulsion Technology in Xi'an, a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp.
The academy said in a news release the engine model features outstanding comprehensive capability and reliability and incorporates advanced technologies such as the continuous variable thrust system.
It will be used on China's reusable spacecraft, and will be key to maintaining the nation's space station. It will also allow for large-scale, low-cost space transportation, the academy said.
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Engineers at the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology in Beijing, the country's major maker of carrier rockets, are working on research and development for multiple reusable rockets including the next type to carry astronauts.
Wang Xiaojun, president of the Beijing academy, said at an international forum in mid-February the new rocket, which has yet to be named, will have two models – the first will consist of a two-stage core booster and will be used to transport astronauts or cargo to China's Tiangong space station. The other will have a three-stage core booster and multiple side boosters and will be tasked with carrying astronauts and their spacecraft to the moon.
The first two stages of their core boosters will be basically identical, and there will be a third stage for a moon landing rocket.
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The first stage of the models will be reusable, Wang said, explaining the booster will have a controlled, powered landing with its own engines and will be captured by a special recovery net.
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