So we’ve talked a lot about space recently, and with good reason. NASA is working on getting its new SLS rockets to launch off the Artemis I, the first of a series of missions to bring astronauts back to the moon.
But China hasn’t been far behind, either. The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) said on Tuesday that it had successfully completed testing a new rocket engine that’s even more powerful than NASA’s RL10 engine (which is what the SLS rockets use). That said, the purpose is a little different between the two, and the head scientist over the project said that the larger these engines get, the more serious the problems could be.
These rocket engines are expected to help China in its version of SLS, called the Long March-9, which is designed to bring space vessels into deeper parts of space than we’ve explored before, including crewed trips to Mars.
This was “the world’s largest closed expander cycle engine test run,” according to CASC, which also called it a “breakthrough” for heavy-duty launchers.
According to Jiang Jie, the China Academy of Launch Vehicle’s chief designer, the version of the rocket China might be building down the road could take eight to ten years but is of epoch-making significance.