LandSpace, one of China’s leading private rocket companies, conducted a long-range trial of the variable thrust on its liquid oxygen methane engine TQ-12, which can be used for the recovery of reusable rockets, on October 26.
The success marks a breakthrough in the double cryogenic rocket engine thrust regulation and the high-precision cryogenic regulator.
With a vacuum thrust of 80 ton (725 kN), the oxygen rich methane-fueled rocket engine became the most powerful among its kind in China as well as in Asia, and the third in the world, following Blue Engine 4 by American aerospace manufacturer Blue Origin and Raptor by another American maker SpaceX.
Apart from laying a technical foundation for reusable rockets, the test also helps optimize the rocket’s flight trajectory and diagnose trouble before rockets take off.
The 200-second test examined the reliability of the engine, as it covers the entire flight duration a rocket. It doubled the duration of the previous test on July 22.
Apart from TQ-12 which can be used for the rocket head and the second stage, LandSpace has built another engine TQ-11 with a vacuum thrust of 10 ton (91 kN) that can be used for the second and the third stage. The combination of both engines can power multiple rocket models developed by the company.
Further tests are expected to be finished by the middle of next year. Mass production will could be possible by the end of next year, according to the company.
Developing oxygen-rich and methane-fueled rocket engines have been a trend among Chinese private rocket companies, as the technology is critical for reusable rockets. Apart from LandScape, i-Space and Jiuzhouyunjian are also working on this technology.