Guess Who Else is Developing a LOX Methane Engine

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CASC
CASC — the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation — reports it has reached a milestone in its development of a new LOX methane rocket engine.

“Recently, a new generation of methane liquid oxygen rocket engine ignition system-wide test to be successful for the first time, signifying that our LOX methane engine development has reached the international advanced level,” according to a story by China Space News published on the CASC website.

The story (in Chinese) is here. You’ll have to open the page in Google Chrome (which has built-in translation) or run it through a translator.

SpaceX is developing a LOX methane engine that will be used as an upper stage for its Falcon rockets. The engine will be tested at the NASA Michoud facility in Mississippi.

Wikipedia describes CASC as “the main contractor for the Chinese space program. It is state-owned and has a number of subordinate entities which design, develop and manufacture a range of spacecraft, launch vehicles, strategic and tactical missile systems, and ground equipment. It was officially established in July 1999 as part of a Chinese government reform drive, having previously been one part of the former China Aerospace Corporation. Various incarnations of the program date back to 1956.

“Along with space and defence manufacture, CASC also produces a number of high-end civilian products such as machinery, chemicals, communications equipment, transportation equipment, computers, medical care products and environmental protection equipment. CASC provides commercial launch services to the international market and is one of the world’s most advanced organizations in the development and deployment of high energy propellant technology, strap-on boosters, and launching multiple satellites atop a single rocket. The corporation has registered capital of 1.1 billion U.S. dollars and employs 110,000 people.”