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China tests new engine for moon landing

By Zhao Lei | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-07-23 09:39

China's rocket scientists and engineers carried out a major test on Saturday on a new type of engine, which will be the most important component in the nation's attempt to land its astronauts on the moon.

The multiple-ignition test took place at an engine testing facility in Fengxian county in Shaanxi province and successfully verified the engine's operating procedures, according to the Academy of Aerospace Propulsion Technology in Xi'an of Shaanxi, China's major manufacturer of liquid-propellant rocket engines.

The test's results will be used to finalize the engine's design and improve its reliability, the academy, a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, said in a news release on Sunday.

Designers said the new engine consumes liquid oxygen and kerosene, has a thrust of 130 metric tons and is reusable. It will be the main propulsion on the Long March 10 carrier rocket, which will be tasked with sending astronauts to the moon.

By now, the engine has undergone seven ignition tests, accumulating nearly an hour of working period.

Considering the engine's important mission, designers said it must have excellent capability and reliability so must be comprehensively tested.

According to the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, the nation's major rocket maker, the moon-landing rocket - Long March 10 - will be 88.5 meters tall, roughly the height of a 31-story residential building. The gigantic rocket will have a liftoff weight of 2,187 metric tons and will be capable of transporting spacecraft weighing at least 27 tons to an Earth-moon transfer trajectory.

China is determined to land its astronauts on the moon before 2030 and plans to established a crewed science outpost in the foreseeable future.

To achieve this goal, China Manned Space Agency has arranged research and development of a host of new-generation space hardware such as new crewed spaceship and lunar rover.

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