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China Demonstrates ‘World’s Most Powerful’ Solid Rocket Engine

China has demonstrated a new domestically-developed solid rocket engine designed to improve the capabilities of the country’s solid propellant rockets, state media reported.

Featuring the largest and most powerful recorded thrust of 500 tons (453,000 kilograms), the booster engine is equipped with a variety of cutting-edge technologies, including an integral-casting combustion chamber, an oversized nozzle, and a high-performance fiber-composite shell.

The solid rocket engine has a diameter of 3.5 meters and can be powered by up to 150 tons of high-energy gunpowder, making it four times more powerful than the liquid fuel engine in Long March 5, the country’s largest launch vehicle.

According to Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) official Yu Ying, the recently concluded test marked the first time that a rocket engine’s gunpowder load was more than 100 tons. “For solid rocket engines, the gunpowder load was several hundred kilograms, several tons, or dozens of tons. This is the first time to surpass 100 tons,” he said, as quoted by ABC News.

With its instantaneous thrust, the equipment can help deliver high-powered missiles to various military platforms and serve as a booster for satellite launchers. It can also be used on model rockets.

‘International Advanced Level’

CASC President Ren Quanbin claims that the breakthrough test run of the solid-fuel rocket engine in Shaanxi province was a success since it important equipment components and has allowed the developer to discover a key technology link that can be followed in developing China’s 1,000-ton solid thrust engine.

He also revealed that the 500-ton thrust of the rocket engine lasted for 115 seconds, proving that China is already at the “international advanced level” in the field of large solid rocket engines.

Meanwhile, the engine’s chief designer Wang Jianru said that the test’s success shows that the country is making tremendous strides in improving its solid-propellant carrier rockets.

In recent years, China has developed solid-fuel rockets capable of delivering many small satellites to near-Earth orbit within hours. One such rocket is the Smart Dragon-3, a solid-fuel launch vehicle capable of sending up to 20 satellites at a time.

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