China Test Fires Engine for New Long March 5 Rocket

China’s new rocket engine has passed its 200-second test. The test took place in an open field 50 kilometres from Xi’an, capital of Shaan’xi province, in northwest China.

The engine was assembled three years ago and has already undergone two tests which lasted 600 seconds each. Sunday morning’s test was to determine if it remains in peak condition. The engine can carry a load of 25 tons. That’s 16 more than the engine in the Long March 2 F, which carried the Shenzhou-9 mission last month. The new engine is fuelled with kerosene and liquid oxygen. That enables a saving of almost 10 million yuan in propellant load.

China is the second country in the world to master the technology, after Russia. The engine will be used in the new Long March 5 rocket in 2014.