New en­gines to lift su­per-heavy rocket

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHAO LEI in Bei­jing zhaolei@chi­

Chi­nese rocket en­gine de­sign­ers have started to de­velop next-gen­er­a­tion en­gines that will pro­pel the na­tion’s fu­ture su­per-heavy rocket, which is ten­ta­tively called Long March 9, ac­cord­ing to a se­nior rocket sci­en­tist.

“En­gi­neers at my academy are re­search­ing and de­vel­op­ing a 500-ton-thrust liq­uid oxy­gen/ kerosene en­gine and a 200-ton­thrust liq­uid oxy­gen/liq­uid hy­dro­gen en­gine that will be used on the fu­ture heavy-lift rocket,” Tan Yonghua, pres­i­dent of the Academy of Aero­space Propul­sion Tech­nol­ogy and a na­tional law­maker, told China Daily on the side­lines of the an­nual ses­sion of the top leg­is­la­ture.

The en­gines will to­gether give the Long March 9 a launch weight of 3,000 tons and a max­i­mum pay­load of 130 tons to the low Earth or­bit, which is pow­er­ful enough to ful­fill a manned mis­sion to the moon, he said.

Suc­cess of the coun­try’s Mars ex­plo­ration pro­grams, which have been ap­proved by the govern­ment, and other deep-space projects will also de­pend on the new rocket be­cause ex­ist­ing ones, in­clud­ing the Long March 5, are not pow­er­ful enough, ac­cord­ing to Tan.

Long March 9 is set to be as tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced as the United States’ Space Launch Sys­tem, which is be­ing de­signed by the Na­tional Aero­nau­tics and Space Ad­min­is­tra­tion, and it will be pol­lu­tion-free, the sci­en­tist added.

Tan said the new en­gines will be based on those used on the Long March 5, which will be launched for the first time in the fall, and that their de­vel­op­ment will take about 10 years.

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