China has successfully completed a gas generator-turbopump test of the Long March-9 heavy-lift rocket engine, laying the foundation for future development of its heavy-lift launch vehicle programs, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) announced.
The test, which was conducted on Sunday, demonstrated the feasibility of the gas generator-turbopump plan, and created a good basis for subsequent engine programs, noted Li Bin, deputy director of the No.6 Research Institute of CASC.
A liquid rocket engine mainly contains components including the thruster, the gas generator, the turbopump, and the operating systems. The turbopump is the core part of the engine and also the most difficult place in the technology. Designing a highly efficient turbopump is key to developing engines, said the CASC.
Liquid rocket engines play a major role in China’s carrier rockets. China has developed the Long March series of carrier rockets during the past decades, and their main power, the YF-20 engine, has become the gold standard of China aerospace industry, according to the CASC.
China also developed highly efficient engines fueled by liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen, such as the YF-75 engine, and has launched satellites hundreds of times, accomplishing feats including manned space flight and lunar exploration. China has mastered techniques in engines fueled by liquid oxygen and kerosene, and ones by liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen, noted CASC.
The prototype of the 500-ton liquid rocket engine is the highest-thrust one being developed. It is of huge significance in China’s future manned lunar landings, interstellar travel and deep space exploration programs, said the CASC, adding that this prototype will also be used in the Long March-9 heavy-lift carrier rocket.
China’s heaviest-lift carrier rocket, currently called the Long March-9, will be sent into space by 2030, according to the Science and Technology Committee of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, the Xinhua News Agency reported.