In a report posted online by China.org.cn, China has developed a cutting-edge ultralight material for thermal insulation on its rockets and spacecraft, according to engineers.
Zou Junfeng, a senior engineer at the Aerospace Institute of Advanced Materials and Processing Technology in Beijing, said the material, called aerogel, has been widely used in space missions by the United States, Russia and Europe and stated that his organization has also developed their own aerogel products and some of them are at the highest technological level in the world. In fact, he added, a lot of China's spacecraft, satellites and rockets are now using these products to resist heat or maintain internal temperatures. These aerogel products are capable of insulating heat but to also withstanding strong vibration. Junfeng said that aerogel is the lightest, solid material ever developed by mankind, a "magic material that will change the world."
The heavy-duty Long March 5 rocket is scheduled to conduct its maiden flight before the end of this year and will use aerogel developed by Zou's institute to maintain the required temperature for its engine's pipes.he nation's future Mars rover will also use aerogel to maintain warmth when landing on the Red Planet.
Zou's institute, part of the Third Academy of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp, specializes in materials used on spacecraft and missiles and has developed a series of aerogel products that can work in a wide range of temperatures, from minus 100 C to 2,500 C and are also used in the Chinese military's latest weapons as well as on large ships and high-speed trains.