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Next-generation Rocket Engine Test Successful
SOURCE: China Space News     UPDATED: 2012-08-01
BEIJING, July 30 (China Space News) -- China on Sunday successfully conducted tests on its new 120-tonne-thrust liquid oxygen (LOX) and kerosene engine in the city of Xi'an in northwest China, according to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).

The new engine was developed by Academy of Aerospace Propulsion Technology, a subsidiary of CASC.

On Sunday, the new engine endured rotational tests of almost 20,000 revolutions per minute, and was exposed to temperatures of up to 3,000 degrees Celsius for 200 seconds.

The new liquid oxygen (LOX) and kerosene engine is being designed for China's planned Long March 5 rocket, which will be more powerful than the current Long March 2F rockets that have been used to launch a space lab test module and an astronaut crew on missions to test docking technologies in low-Earth orbit.

The high-performance engine, which is the first kind of high-pressure staged combustion cycle engine for which China has proprietary intellectual property rights, is non-toxic, pollution-free and highly reliable.

It also makes China the second country in the world, after Russia, to grasp the core technologies for an LOX/kerosene high-pressure staged combustion cycle rocket engine.

The more capable Long March 5 rocket is expected to help the country achieve its goal of constructing a space station in orbit by the year 2020, as well as play a key role in China's future space exploration aims beyond low-Earth orbit. The rocket's maiden launch is expected to occur in 2014.