China Making Progress to Copy SpaceX Starship by 2033

China Making Progress to Copy SpaceX Starship by 2033

Gao Yushan, Deputy Director of Xi’an Aerospace Power Research Institute and academic and technical leader of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, described China space industry efforts to copy the SpaceX Super Heavy Starship and the SpaceX Raptor engine. Yushan is mainly engaged in basic theoretical research, model development and new technology research and development of liquid rocket engines.

China has developed 10 ton and 80 ton methane rocket engines. The 80-ton liquid oxygen methane engines, at the Beijing Aerospace Power Research Institute, have completed hot tests of the entire engine. China’s rocket startups have also passed tests. Blue Arrow Aerospace’s Tianque 12, Jiuzhou Yunjian’s Longyun and Aerospace Propulsion’s Mosasaurus 1 have also passed the hot test of the entire engines. Kegong Rockets’ Mingfeng 2 has been assembled and shipped from the factory, and Star Glory’s Focus 2 has undergone a gas generator hot test.

China is at the development stage for a full-flow afterburning cycle engine. The Aerospace Propulsion Technology Research Institute has carried out the development of a 200-ton full-flow supplementary combustion cycle liquid oxygen methane engine. The 200-ton full-flow afterburning cycle liquid oxygen methane engine has a thrust of 2000kN at sea level. At present, the institute has completed the engine program demonstration and successfully completed the thermal test of the torch igniter, the gas generator scale-down component thermal test and the thrust chamber scale-down component thermal test.

Clusters of 26 of the reusable engines will power the first stage of China’s Long March 9 super heavy-lift launcher, according to designs presented earlier by officials from the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. (CASC), China’s main space contractor. CASC is understood to be targeting 2033 for a first test flight on the massive rocket.

If this timeline can be met it would put China’s effort to copy the SpaceX Super Heavy Starship at ten years behind SpaceX.

Okay, so China is going full Starship with its Long March 9. Two test launches ~2033 and aiming for full reusability with the two-stage variant. Source:

— Andrew Jones (@AJ_FI) April 24, 2023

🚀 CASC advances in space tech with a 200-ton LOX/methane engine, crucial for future heavy-lift rockets. Achieving key milestones in design and testing, this engine is set to enhance the capability of China’s next-generation reusable rockets. Source:

— CNSA Watcher (@CNSAWatcher) November 26, 2023

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