China will test a prototype combined-cycle hypersonic engine later this year that they hope will pave the way for the first demonstration flight of a full-scale propulsion system by 2025. If successful, the engine could be the first of its type in the world to power a hypersonic vehicle or the first stage of a two-stage-to-orbit spaceplane. Combined-cycle systems have long been studied as a potential means to access to space and long-range hypersonic vehicles.
Zhang Yong, a CASTC engineer, claimed that China will master the spaceplane’s technologies in the next three to five years, and a full-scale spaceplane would then enter service by 2030.
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