Chinese startup Space Epoch has performed initial ground tests on the Longyun-70, an engine for the company’s upcoming reusable heavy launch vehicle.
The powerplant, built by Beijing-based engine maker Jiuzhou Yunjian, was affixed to a stainless steel propellant tank. According to the company’s press release, the test was successful and the engine was ignited and restarted several times over.
‘Complete success of this test also marks a breakthrough of liquid oxygen-methane fuel use with stainless steel storage tank. It laid a solid foundation for the subsequent rocket flight test, and also contributed to the diversified development and technological innovation of our country’s commercial aerospace,’ the release stated.
The company did not announce when the first test flight of a complete rocket or its scale model is expected.
According to earlier statements, Space Epoch plans to build a 64-meter-tall rocket that could be reused at least 20 times.
Its size and payload capacity are expected to be significantly smaller than that of the SpaceX Starship, which stands at 120 meters tall and is intended to carry up to 100 tons to low Earth orbit.
However, Space Epoch does not shy away from pointing out similarities between their upcoming rocket and the Starship, as well as citing Elon Musk’s venture as a major inspiration.