Powered by ‘aerobic’ magnetic fluid engines, China is determined to have a fleet of hypersonic aircraft by 2035

China would develop and test its hypersonic technology at an unprecedented rate. He claims to have added another engine to his arsenal that can propel him to the forefront of hypersonic racing.

China’s hypersonic weapons program hopes to launch into the future with an ‘air-breathing’ magnetic fluid engine that could make it commercial possible get anywhere on Earth in less than an hour.

By 2035, China intends to build a hypersonic passenger fleet that will use near-Earth orbit to travel to any destination in the world in less than an hour. Even though this program has been ridiculed by Western observers, China remains committed to developing an aircraft of this caliber and expanding the fleet more than a decade after a successful operation.

The program’s senior scientist said the super-quiet engine with no moving parts will also help build the next-generation launch vehicle, which is expected to significantly improve China’s space capability.

The “next generation launch vehicle” is likely to launch a crewed mission into space and could potentially make its first flight in 2026. An advanced engine powering it could prove to be a major space technology milestone for the communist nation.

A concept model for a next-generation launcher on display at Zhuhai Show, 2018-CASC

The experimental engine, according to Wei Baoxi, who has overseen several of China’s “milestone” hypersonic test flights, could significantly increase the vehicle’s flight efficiency and stability.

The motor, known as a magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) drive, apparently generates thrust from an electrically charged fluid that is forced through it by an electromagnetic force, and it is said to be used in tandem with the scramjet, another air-breathing engine, SCMP has been informed.

Magnetohydrodynamic drive - Wikipedia
Magnetohydrodynamic drive – Wikipedia

The MHD was designed to power nuclear submarines, but due to the low conductivity of salt water it was deemed unsuitable.

Air molecules on the surface of an aircraft traveling at five or more times the speed of sound, on the other hand, become electrically charged, making the futuristic engine’s ideal working environment.

The MHD engine has the potential to change near-Earth orbit flight and propel China to the forefront of aerospace racing, according to Wei, who is also deputy director of mixed-cycle engine development at Beijing Power. Machinery Research Institute.

“This technological revolution is a historic opportunity that China cannot afford to miss,” he said. “With a technological advantage, a solid industrial base and continuous innovation, China could take a unique path to develop new power systems for aerospace activities.”

China’s focus appears to be on viability and near-orbit travel, as a few weeks ago it also conducted a test flight for a new engine, which analysts say will power future hypersonic aircraft. and close to the country’s space, according to Chinese state media. — world times.

Chinese hypersonic dream engine

Winged hypersonic aircraft, according to Wei, will eventually replace regular rockets as the backbone of near-orbit transport. According to him, the MHD engine could increase the total efficiency of air-breathing spaceplanes by 10%, compared to scramjets, which suck in air and mix it with fuel to achieve combustion.

Wei and his research team wrote in a report published last month in the peer-reviewed Chinese journal “Aerospace China” that aerobic propulsion “would be the method that human beings should adopt to achieve high efficiency in moving between Earth and Space”. ”

A magnetohydrodynamic drive, also known as an MHD accelerator, is a method of propelling vehicles using only electric and magnetic fields, with no moving components, using magnetohydrodynamics to accelerate an electrically conductive propellant (liquid or gas). the fluid is directed backwards and like a reactionthe vehicle accelerates forward.

China is developing a hypersonic plane that can fly at 12,000 mph, looks like Boeing X-47C – TechEBlog
China is developing a hypersonic aircraft capable of flying at 12,000 MPH; it looks like the Boeing X-47C

The MHD drive, according to Wei, could help overcome many technological hurdles to make commercial hypersonic spaceflight a reality, SCMP said. Currently, as the Mach number increases, the thrust created by the aerobic engines decreases and the extremely high temperatures generated can damage the surface of the aircraft.

There is also the problem of unpredictable turbulence, which requires sophisticated and expensive flight control systems, as well as the requirement for reusable key components in a successful hypersonic space vehicle.

Due to its air-breathing capability, Chinese space scientists estimate that the hypersonic aircraft currently in development will be 10 times more efficient than a rocket that requires its own oxygen.

China’s reverse-engineered MHD engine could absorb energy from surrounding fast-moving hot air molecules to preserve the surface of the craft and extend its service life.

Some of the captured energy would be converted into electricity, which is used to power powerful plasma jets that aid in flight control. The rest is routed through an afterburner, which uses electromagnetic force to drive the exhaust to generate additional thrust.

To achieve maximum performance, the magnetic fluid engine, according to Wei, will need to be combined with other emerging technologies such as rapid cooling systems and detonation engines. Recent test flights have demonstrated that these technologies have a lot of potential, he said.

These efforts could be remarkable if the claims are confirmed, as China has relentlessly tested hypersonic capability on a war footing. On the other hand, the United States still struggles to manufacture a suitable hypersonic weapon, in part due to a view within American strategic circles that the country has a much larger number of powerful ballistic missiles capable of to inflict significant damage to opponents in any potential. future conflict.

Space launch with aerobic engine

China says it is working on a next-generation rocket that should become the main launch vehicle for the country’s future manned mission.

There are dangers in creating brand new technology, according to a Beijing-based space scientist who is not involved in Wei’s project. He said there is evidence China’s space authorities “don’t want to put all their eggs in one basket.”

In mid-February, two models of next-generation Chinese manned launch vehicles — a hypersonic aircraft and a more traditional two-stage reusable rocket — were unveiled, according to the scientist, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

When Wang Xiaojun, president of the Chinese Academy of Launcher Technology, floated the idea of ​​a launcher at an international online conference, it was criticized as a forgery. It appeared it would function as SpaceX’s reusable Starship, which has become the backbone of US space missions, according to social media users.

According to the Beijing scientist, SpaceX’s feat raised questions about whether China should follow suit, as some of China’s reusable rocket prototypes had already successfully vertically landed in test flights.

Chinese hypersonic aircraft
Image of what is believed to be a Chinese hypersonic aircraft. (CCTV screenshot)

While Chinese researchers aren’t abandoning reusable rocket technology, scientists say interest in air motor technology is growing. He points out that the fuel efficiency of a rocket engine is already low and that powered descents and soft landings consume even more energy.

However, in a more recent development, Science and Technology Daily declared that China’s next-generation manned launch vehicle could have a reusable first stage that can land vertically smoothly.

According to Wang Xiaojun, director of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, which is part of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, the reusable first stage can perform engine deceleration during reentry and regulate and decelerate using pneumatic rudders. .

It’s indicative of an approach that doesn’t rely exclusively on air-breathing engines or reusable rockets. China’s investment in both types of technology could mean it intends to boost its hypersonic and conventional reusable launch capability, in tandem.

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