China has conducted a fire test of the YF-100K engines that will be installed on the Long March 10 rocket, which is supposed to deliver Chinese astronauts to the moon by 2030. This was reported by the oldest English-language edition of Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post.

The test was announced by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT). The engines, which generated a total thrust of 382 tons for several minutes, “started normally, operated stably, and shut down on schedule,” CALT said in a post on its official WeChat account.

Interestingly, the YF-100K oxygen-kerosene engines are modified YF-100 engines for use on the Long March 10 and Long March 12 launch vehicles, which are already used on almost all modern Chinese rockets (Long March 5, 6, 7, and 8). In turn, the YF-100 is based on the RD-120 engine, which was developed for the Zenit-2 launch vehicle and manufactured at Pivdenmash in Dnipro.

At one time, the United States even accused the Ukrainian side of transferring RD-120s to China, but as it turned out, the engines were sold to China by the Russians back in 1991.

Long March 10 will have a first stage and two lateral boosters with 7 YF-100K engines each. Two YF-100M engines will operate on the second stage, and three YF-75E engines will operate on the third stage. According to the calculations, Long March 10 should be able to launch up to 70 tons of payload to low Earth orbit (10% more than the SpaceX Falcon Heavy), or 27 tons to lunar orbit.

Two Long March 10 launches will be required to land two taikonauts on the Moon. One for the Mengzhou spacecraft and another for the Lanyue lunar lander. In lunar orbit, the spacecraft and the lunar lander will dock, and then land on the lunar surface and return to the spacecraft, which will deliver the taikonauts and research results to Earth.

According to CALT representatives, the development of the rocket has entered the fast lane for further large-scale system tests for its first flight.

It is planned that Long March 10 will make its maiden flight during 2024-26, and by 2030, China wants to bring people to the moon.

I wonder who will win the second lunar race, the United States or China? Last time, capitalism proved its superiority over socialism.