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Rocket engine test sets thrust record

By Zhao Lei | China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-30 09:11

The latest variant in the YF-100 series consumes liquid oxygen and kerosene

China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, the country's major space contractor, conducted a major test on a new type of rocket engine on Sunday, creating the most thrust ever recorded in tests of a Chinese liquid-propellant engine.

During the combined ignition test at an engine testing facility in Fengxian county, Shaanxi province, four engines were connected together and started at the same time to verify the design and performance of the propulsion system on a new model of carrier rocket that will make its debut flight this year, according to the Academy of Aerospace Propulsion Technology, a CASC subsidiary in Xi'an, Shaanxi, and China's major manufacturer of liquid-propellant rocket engines.

The academy said in a news release that the new engines are the latest variant in the YF-100 series. They consume liquid oxygen and kerosene and each of them has a thrust of 130 metric tons. The four engines generated a combined thrust of more than 500 tons in the test, which was more sophisticated than past tests of liquid-propellant engines.

Li Bin, a deputy head of the academy and the chief designer of its liquid oxygen/kerosene engines, said after Sunday's test that engineers examined the operational compatibility of the four engines and their reliability in a simulated liftoff scenario.

The results showed that the new model functions well and is ready for use, he said.

According to designers, the new engine will be responsible for lifting a new rocket model in the Long March family, the nation's dominant launch vehicle fleet.

Sunday's test was the second time the academy has hit the headlines this month.

On April 12, it carried out the 15th two-ignition test of another 130-ton-thrust engine model at the Fengxian testing facility, setting a new national record for the most ignitions by one rocket engine prototype.

After that test, the prototype has accumulated more than 3,900 seconds of burning operation.

According to an annual plan published by CASC in February, at least two new rocket models — the Long March 12 and Long March 6C — are scheduled to carry out maiden flights this year.

Since only the Long March 12 will use four engines on its first core stage as main propulsion, it is highly likely that it will be the major user of the new engine.

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