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China Tests Propulsion System of a New Type of Carrier Rocket

Rocket scientists and engineers carried out a key test on Friday on the propulsion system to be used on a new type of carrier rocket, which will be the backbone of China’s future manned landing on the moon.

During the ignition test that took place at an engine testing facility in Beijing’s Fengtai district, three YF-100K engines kept spitting blaze for several minutes, generating a combined thrust of 382 metric tons, according to the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, a major rocket maker in the nation.

The YF-100K will provide the major lifting power for the Long March 10 rocket, which is under research and development at the Beijing-based academy, a subsidiary of State-owned industry giant China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp.

The Long March 10 will be a brand-new type of launch vehicle and will be tasked with launching the country’s new-generation crewed spacecraft and the lunar landing module.

The moon-mission rocket will consist of a core booster and several side boosters and will be 92.5 meters tall, which is roughly the height of a 32-story residential building. The gigantic vehicle will have a liftoff weight of 2,189 metric tons and a thrust of 2,678 tons.

It will be capable of transporting spacecraft weighing at least 27 tons to an Earth-moon transfer trajectory, according to designers.

China’s roadmap for its first manned lunar expedition involves two Long March 10 launches from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province to transport a landing module and a manned spacecraft to lunar orbit.

After reaching their preset orbital positions, the landing module and the spacecraft carrying astronauts will rendezvous and dock with each other. Two crew members will enter the landing module, which will then undock and descend toward the lunar surface for an engine-assisted soft landing.

On the moon, the astronauts will drive a rover to carry out scientific tasks and collect samples. Upon completion of their assignments, they will return to the landing module, which will fly them back to their spaceship waiting in lunar orbit.

In the final stage, the astronauts will carry the samples into their spacecraft, which will then undock and carry the crew back to Earth.

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