China successfully launches reusable rocket engine; re-ignition test

China successfully launches reusable rocket engine; re-ignition test

For several years, China's rocket scientists and engineers have been working on building reusable rocket models, and they have made significant progress through technology demonstrations.

Their latest approach 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.

The reusable engine was refueled twice and worked well during the test, which took place in Xi'an, Shaanxi province on Saturday morning, according to the Academy of Aerospace Propulsion Technology in Xi'an, a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp.

The engine model has outstanding comprehensive capability and reliability, and includes advanced technologies such as the continuous variable thrust system, according to the academy.

It will be used on China's reusable spacecraft and will be key to maintaining the nation's space station. The academy said it will allow for large-scale, low-cost space transportation.

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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.

The president of the Beijing academy, Wang Xiaojun, said at an international forum in mid-February that the new rocket will have two models, the first of which 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 the same, and there will be a third stage for a moon landing rocket.

Wang said the booster will have a controlled, powered landing with its own engines and will be captured by a special recovery net.