December 6, 2008

China Launches Hybrid Rocket

China, for the first time, has launched and recovered a hybrid rocket, the University of Aeronautics and Astronautics in Bejing says.

The Beihang-2 was fired Friday from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern Gansu province, with the head of the rocket parachuting to the ground for recovery about 15 minutes later, Xinhua, China's state-run news agency, reported Saturday.

The low-cost and non-explosive rocket was designed by students at the university's School of Aeronautics, Xinhua reported, noting the launch tested the performance of a new hybrid engine.

Unlike traditional solid-fuel propulsion systems, a hybrid engine injects a liquid propellant into a tank lined with solid fuel, producing a reaction that creates a hot gas that causes the rocket to move forward as it is expelled.