HELSINKI — Chinese private launch firm LandSpace has completed assembly of a liquid methane-liquid oxygen rocket engine for its new Zhuque-2 launch vehicle.
Assembly of the 80-ton thrust Tianque-12 methalox engine was completed at a manufacturing base in Huzhou, eastern China, following a successful power pack test in March.
The engine benefits from a modular and integrated design, according to a May 6 Landspace news release, helping to reduce the number of components and reduce costs. A hot fire test is expected before the end of June.
Landspace will use the TQ-12 engine for its Zhuque-2 (Vermillion Bird-2) medium-lift launch vehicle, which will measure 48.8-meters tall with a diameter of 3.35 meters. It will be capable of delivering a 4,000-kilogram payload capacity to a 200-kilometer low Earth orbit and 2,000 kilograms to 500-kilometer Sun-synchronous orbit.
The company claims the launch vehicle will be the first Chinese rocket powered by methalox propellant and will, upon its test flight expected in 2020, have the third-highest thrust level among commercial aerospace companies globally.
The assembled Tianque-12 80-ton thrust methalox engine. Credit: Landspace
Mike Gruntman, a professor of astronautics at the University of Southern California, told SpaceNewsthat the TQ-12 engine development was a ‘big ...