Landspace Company will launch the world’s first methane-powered rocket into orbit with a thrust of 268 tons in the next two weeks..
Design of the tail of the Zhuque-2 rocket.
Design of the tail of the Zhuque-2 rocket. (Photo: Terrestrial space)
As expected, missile named Zhuque-2 Developed by startup Landspace, it will be launched between December 4 and 15 from the Gobi Desert in Inner Mongolia. If successful, it will be the first methane-burning rocket launched into orbit. Landspace competes with two American competitors, SpaceX and Relativity Space, in an effort to launch methane-powered rockets.
Methane is the basic component of natural gas. When used as rocket fuel, methane is more efficient, easier to produce, and more environmentally friendly than traditional fuels like kerosene. Considered the future fuel for next-generation rockets, compared to kerosene, methane helps the engine convert fuel into thrust more efficiently, thus having a higher specific thrust. The higher the specific thrust, the less propellant required, resulting in lower launch costs.
Methane also has the advantage of being easier to produce kerosene technically. This fuel can also be filtered and produced on the Moon, Mars and many other places. Some scientists think it can be heated regolith (Rocks and dust on the lunar surface are different from those in the solar system. For example, they contain traces of carbon and hydrogen)to produce methane. But building a methane engine presents many technical challenges, including difficulties in igniting the fuel, especially in low-temperature environments such as space missions.
Zhuque-2 is a two-stage rocket nearly 50 meters high and more than 3 meters wide, using a mixture of liquid methane and liquid oxygen. With a mass of 219 tons and a thrust of 268 tons at takeoff, this rocket can carry 6 tons of cargo into low Earth orbit, according to Landspace. Zhuque-2 is equipped with four Tianque-12 engines of 80 tons of thrust on the first stage, a similar engine on the second stage, as well as four auxiliary engines of 10 tons of thrust.
In terms of scale, the Zhuque-2 rocket falls between SpaceX’s giant Starship rocket and the smaller Terran 1 rocket developed by Relativity Space. The 120m tall Starship rocket is capable of carrying 100 tonnes of cargo to low Earth orbit while the 35m tall Terran 1 rocket can carry 1.5 tonnes of cargo. The main difference is that the Zhuque-2 missile cannot be reused at present. Landspace said the company is developing a new model Tianque-12 engine that could be reused in the future.
Although Zhuque-2 has not yet taken off, the company has started manufacturing rockets for the second and third flights at its production plant in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province. These rockets can be ready for launch within 6 months.
Article source: VnExpress
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Landspace Company will launch the world’s first methane-powered rocket into orbit with a thrust of 268 tons in the next two weeks. Design of parts…