The race for space travel is lopsided in favor of China. The Asian country has just successfully tested a space engine that has the advantage of being the most powerful to date. There is concern at NASA and SpaceX, which are being overtaken by the Eastern power.
The world’s most powerful solid fuel space engine is Chinese
It is a solid-fuel rocket engine capable of powering future missions to the Moon and Mars. The engine created by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation has just been successfully tested.
It has a diameter of 3.5 meters and generates about 500 tons of thrust. They created it with state-of-the-art technology. The new engine demonstrates the progress of Chinese scientists in the development of rockets capable of propelling heavy loads.
In fact, this new test puts China on an equal footing with NASA. Heavy solid-fuel rockets are no longer exclusive to the United States. For the SLS, or new space launch system, these rockets are critical. Future missions to Mars and the Moon depend on them, as they have done in the past to power the space shuttles.
Chinese engine characteristics
The rocket tested by China has a capacity for 150 tons of solid fuel in its tanks. Although, as it is in testing period, it is not ruled out that it can carry more.
They put it through a test which they recorded on video and lasts 115 seconds. The thrust level reached was 500 tons. According to the corporation that created the engine, it is the most powerful engine in the world.
However, those who checked the numbers, came to the conclusion that it is the most powerful in relation to fuel consumption. The engines developed by NASA for the SLS have a larger diameter than China’s, 3.65 meters. They also have greater thrust, 1632 tons.
However, these NASA engines can only hold that force constant for 127 seconds. For that portion of time they use 500 tons of solid fuel. Compared to the one created by China, the lower consumption would lead to maintaining thrust for 383 seconds. This difference makes the Chinese engine the most powerful ever created. In other words, China can launch much heavier payloads into space than the United States.
The difference, according to China, lies in the advanced technologies used in its manufacture. A high-performance fiber tank. A combustion chamber made from a single piece of vacuum and a new, larger nozzle.
Advantages and disadvantages of solid fuel space engines
The solid-fuel space engine has advantages over liquid-fueled ones, though also disadvantages. They have a simple design, you get more thrust, they are easy to maintain, and solid fuel does not have expansion like liquid fuel.
The big disadvantage is that when you turn them on you can’t control them. Liquid fueled ones can be turned off and on again. Another major drawback is that they are prone to explode if certain controls are not followed.
To understand how solid fuel works, it’s like lighting fireworks. Once they are lit it is not possible to stop them until all the powder is consumed.