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  • 600kN LOX/Methane Rocket Engine Development

    Paper number



    Mr. Jiguo Sun, Beijing Aerospace Propulsion Institute, China


    Prof. Nan Zhang, Beijing Aerospace Propulsion Institute, China


    Mr. Weibin Wang, Beijing Aerospace Propulsion Institute, China



    Liquid oxygen (LOX) /liquid methane (LCH4) propellants combination has higher performance characteristics, lower cost and well reusability. LOX/methane rocket engine is investigating and developing widely in the world. Research and development of a 600kN class LOX /methane liquid rocket engine was initiated recently in China. For the engine, one of the main aspects will be the development of a thrust chamber technology. A number of experiments at subscale level were conducted to study and evaluate methane/LOX gas-liquid and liquid-liquid injection combustion performance, combustion efficiency and instability, soot formation etc. The cooling characteristics of methane were investigated by a thrust chamber calorimeter with supercritical and subcritical methane flow field in heated rectangular channel with strong wall temperature differences. A methane/oxygen turbine pump together with a LOX/methane gas generator was hot tested to validate their consistency. A LOX/methane thrust chamber, including injector head and combustion chamber, was designed and fabricated. The 600kN LOX /methane rocket engine was based on a LOX/LH2 rocket engine excepting the newly designed LOX/methane thrust chamber and gas generator. Totally 4 hot firing tests ,67 seconds accumulatively, were carried out successfully for the LOX/methane engine in January 2011 with pressure in main combustion chamber range from 10.1~10.5 MPa. Both experimental and theoretical analysis indicates our 600kN LOX/methane rocket engine has good combustion stability and convenient maintenance. Therefore, LOX/methane engine is a good choice for future space transportation.
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    Manuscript document