Chinese lunar rocket will be ready by 2027

Race to the moon also captivates Beijing, which is testing the engines that will equip the first Chinese lunar rocket ready in 2027

China is making enormous progress in the development of a new rocket capable of launching astronauts to the Moon. Yang Liwei, the first Chinese astronaut in orbit, recently revealed that the new Chinese lunar rocket will be ready by 2027.

The vehicle is in the full development phase. The goal of the Beijing government is to set foot on the Moon before 2030. New rockets, called the Long March 10, will be required for separate test launches. Only after that will the crewed lunar vehicle of the new generation be assembled.

Steps towards the Moon

The rocket is expected to undergo a test flight in 2027. Expert Xinhua Rong Yi from the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) announced it to the press on July 21st (ref.). The launch vehicle will be about 90 meters tall and will have three first-stage cores with a diameter of 5 meters. The liftoff mass will be 210,000 kilograms and it can carry 27,000 kilograms into lunar transfer orbit. It also features an escape system above the payload fairing during launch.

A second version, 67 meters long with a single first-stage core, will be able to launch 14,000 kilograms of payload into low Earth orbit (LEO). This variant will be used to launch an LEO version of the new crewed spacecraft that will dock with the Tiangong space station. This intermediate configuration will be the first Chinese lunar rocket to be tested in 2027.

Engines are ready

CASC announced that a successful sixth hotfire test was completed in June for the main liquid kerosene-oxygen engine of the rocket (ref.). The engine is designed to produce 130 tons of thrust and has a cumulative test firing time of 3,300 seconds.

CASC is China’s leading space contractor and is tasked with developing the various components necessary to safely bring astronauts to the lunar surface and return them to Earth. China has recently completed a new test space in Tongchuan, specifically built to test the new engines needed to power its lunar rockets.

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