The Prototype of China’s 500-Ton Rocket Engine can be Completed within the Year

China’s 500-ton liquid-oxygen kerosene engine can complete the prototype development in 2018. It adopted the thrust engine scheme of the world’s most powerful engine of the same type and it can provide flight products within 8 years after the project is established.

During the interview to the NPC deputy, president of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation Sixth Research Institute, Liu Zhirang, the reporter knew that heavy lift carrier rocket is an important symbol of the aerospace power country and the basis for future large-scale space activities. The Long March 9 is a new generation of heavy rockets being demonstrated in China. It has a take-off thrust of 3,000 tons, the carrying capacity over 100 tons on the low-earth orbit and the earth-moon transfer orbit carrying capacity of at least 50 tons which are similar to that of the US Saturn 5 carrier rocket. It can meet the requirements for manned lunar-landing, Mars exploration and further deep space exploration in the future.

An authoritative source from the China National Space Administration disclosed that the Long March 9 carrier rocket is scheduled to achieve the maiden flight around 2030. The three types of liquid rocket engines which power the heavy lift carrier rockets are the 500-ton engine fueled by liquid oxygen and kerosene, 200-ton and 25-ton engines using liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen as fuel. They are used as the first, second and third level of the rocket respectively.

“Power should lead the development of the space. To obtain a mature engine usually takes about 15 years to develop, so it needs to be planned and acted on in advance.” said Liu Zhirang, China will tackle problems on key technologies of the 500-ton engine fueled by liquid oxygen and kerosene and 200-ton engines using oxygen and hydrogen. Once successful, it will achieve a leap from 25 tons to 100 tons on low orbit carrying capacity.

It is known that the 500-ton engine fueled by liquid, oxygen and kerosene adopted the thrust engine scheme of the world’s most powerful engine of the same type. The engine has high specific impulse performance and simple system configuration. It adopts mechatronics control, step-starting and fault diagnosis technology, and it achieves programming and automation during the use and maintenance which make it simple and pragmatic.

Liu Zhirang stated that based on the three-dimensional digitization development process, currently the high thrust rocket engine has carried out a comprehensive key technology research and achieved a full three-dimensional digital paperless design. The system scheme and assembly layout plan have been determined on the basis of multiple rounds of verification and the design of main engine components has completed.