China has tested hyper-scramjet engine with two-stage booster

BEIJING, ($1=6.33 Chinese Yuans) — On January 24, China successfully tested [according to the pro-government online portal Global Times] a new engine with a two-stage rocket booster, which is said to be the future of Chinese hypersonic aircraft. The state television CCTV says that this engine is a science and engineering development of the Laboratory of Spray Combustion and Propulsion at the School of Aerospace Engineering at Tsinghua University.

China tested a 'hyper-scramjet' engine with two-stage booster
Photo credit: Global Times

According to information disseminated by the Chinese media, the test flight took place in two stages in which, after the initial start-up, take-off, and fuel combustion, the engine proceeds to the second stage, sending the aircraft at a certain altitude and speed. Experts say the second stage during the test showed the injection of vaporized jet fuel into the upper chamber of the engine. According to Chinese engineers, this happens when the intended air inlet of the engine begins to effectively “breathe” air, which gives a command to the fuel supply system.

CCTV also says that after the initial ignition and starting of the engine, it has started to work stably, providing the necessary thrust. The final phase of the test ended with the opening of a parachute and landing in a desert area, which is a sign that Chinese engineers are working on a reusable version of the booster – something Elon Musk and SpaceX have long developed and implemented in space development and progress. of the US.

According to the Global Times, in addition to showing the possibility of developing a future Chinese hypersonic aircraft [the United States already has one] that even goes into low Earth orbit, scientists have been able to gather effective data on changes in working environment parameters, and how they affected the characteristics of the tested engine.

China tested a 'hyper-scramjet' engine with two-stage booster
Photo credit: Own design

Huang Zhicheng, a senior expert on aerospace science and technology, says one of the key technologies for developing this type of engine is the development of a string engine but did not confirm whether this is exactly what they have achieved at a Chinese university.

Wang Yanan, the chief editor of Beijing-based Aerospace Knowledge magazine, told the Global Times on Monday that since the engine needed a two-stage rocket booster, it probably worked near space or in the upper edge of the atmosphere where the air is very thin, with insufficient oxygen to support combustion.

Wang Ya’nan’s assumption means that for such technology to work, the mixing of airflow with fuel must be slowed down and not happen quickly. Only in this way, says Wang Ya’nan, will stable and efficient combustion is obtained. Wang Yanan that if the test showed just such data, it means a major technological breakthrough.

However, Li Xiaoguang, an expert on intelligent unmanned systems at Qingdao University, says the test still proves nothing and engineers still have a long way to go. “If it is a scaled model test which aims to verify the theory, it means that there is still some way to go before the technology matures and becomes a real product,” Li said.

The ‘hypersonic’ test in November reminds you, that China has successfully tested a hypersonic weapon in November last year. According to Space Force Lieutenant General Chance Saltzman, the Deputy Chief of Space Operations for Operations, Cyber, and Nuclear, the Chinese hypersonic weapon has an orbital character, ie. may remain in orbit indefinitely until the client [or its user – ed.] decides otherwise. As we reported earlier, the mysterious thing about Chinese hypersonic weapons is the fact that during its test flight, which traveled the world at one point, it released another body that hit a target located in China. Ie Saltzman believes that China’s hypersonic glider can launch its projectiles.

Chinese hypersonic weapon fired a separate missile mid-flight
Photo credit: The Drive

“This is a categorically different system, because a fractional orbit is different than suborbital,” Saltzman continued. “A fractional orbit means it can stay on orbit as long as the user determines and then it de-orbits it as a part of the flight path.”

The definition and knowledge of fractional orbit are as follows – this is the orbit that the rocket reaches and returns to earth. However, the common working definition of so-called Fractional Orbital Bombardment Systems (FOBS), of which China’s system would seem to be a particularly novel example, has often been expanded to include concepts that do complete one or more revolutions. Saltzman is suggesting here that the Chinese system is designed to spend a more protracted period in space.


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