BEIJING-Chinese scientists have made a breakthrough in cryogenic rocket engine technology that can extend the orbital period of rockets from a few hours to 30 days, providing support for China’s future deep space exploration.

Cryogenic rocket engines are specially designed to work at extremely low temperatures.

They use non-toxic and non-polluting propellants, such as liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, which are more cost-efficient than others.

The engine has been widely used in domestic and foreign launch vehicles, including China’s Long March-5 and Long March-7 carrier rockets.

However, most of these rockets can orbit only a few minutes or a few hours. An extended orbital period has puzzled the aerospace community for a long time.

Scientists from the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology have developed two insulating materials that can reduce propellant evaporation loss and keep rockets in flight for longer than before.

According to Zhang Shaohua, a member of the research team, a cryogenic rocket will face a severe thermal environment when it flies in orbit, which will cause lots of propellant evaporation, accelerate propellant loss and reduce the time in orbit.

“If a car keeps leaking oil, its range will inevitably be shortened,” said Zhang.