China just tested huge solid-fuel rocket
China has tested a huge new powder rocket engine, creating more propulsion options for the country’s growing space activities.
The rocket engine was ignited on Tuesday, Oct. 19, at a site near the northern Chinese city of Xi’an, firing for 115 seconds, creating a huge trail of flames and exhaust.
The new engine was developed by the Academy of Aerospace Solid Propulsion Technology (AASPT) which is owned by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the country’s main space contractor.
The engine has a diameter of 11.48 feet (3.5 meters) 1 and a maximum thrust of 1,000,000 pound-force (500 tons) is powered by 330,000 pounds (150 tons) of solid fuel. A CASC declaration said it was the most powerful solid rocket engine with the greatest thrust in the world so far.
Related: The latest news from the Chinese space program
According to CASC, it has also proven several advanced technologies, including a high performance composite fiber shell, integral cast iron combustion chamber and oversized nozzle, to make it a highly advanced rocket engine.
“The tests are very successful. We tested all parameters, including the 500 ton thrust which worked 115 seconds,” said Ren Quanbin, president of AASPT.
âWe are internationally advanced in the field of large solid rocket engines. Then we will develop a solid 1,000 ton rocket motor to provide stronger thrust for Chinese carrier rockets in the future, âRen said. Video surveillance.
The CCAC says the rocket motor should be used with heavy lift rockets to meet various launchers demands in space missions such as crewed moon landings and deep space exploration. China is already developing the Long March 9 and another large rocket to launch astronauts for crewed lunar missions, none of which include solid boosters.
China has made great strides in solid rockets in recent years, including the successful development and launch of the Long March 11, which can be launched from the earth or sea. AASPT also tested a solid motor (3.2 m) in diameter in December 2020.
However, the new engine is much bigger and could be added to the launchers to produce extra thrust. It could also be used by CASC’s commercial spin-off company, China Rocket, which is developing Jielong powder rockets for launching commercial satellites.
China is also planning to launch its first rocket that combines liquid propellant core stages with solid side boosters. The Long run 6A could be launched before the end of the year.
CASIC, another gigantic Chinese state-owned enterprise similar to CASC and with its own spatial aspirations, is also developing small and large solid rockets.
This comes at a time when many countries and companies, including China itself, are developing reusable liquid rockets. Once the first stages have done their job, the engines of these new launchers can reignite to guide the first stage to a landing zone and burn again to perform a powered descent and vertical landing. In this way, the rockets can be recovered and reused, reducing launch costs.
Powder rockets cannot be controlled in the same way, however, and once ignited, they burn until all the propellant is used up. They are, however, simpler than liquid rockets and offer their own advantages in terms of cost and production.
China’s New Solid Rocket Engine It is not, however, the biggest and most powerful solid fuel engine ever tested. In the 1960s, Aerojet developed and test shot the SL-260, with “260” referring to its diameter in inches, or 21.60 ft (6.60 m).
It was designed for NASA to demonstrate the feasibility of using large SRMs for space exploration, but was not used.