China has made a major breakthrough in the development of the Hall-effect thruster (HET), an important space propulsion technology.
Researchers from the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) have developed the country's first HET with an input power of 20 kilowatts that can produce a thrust of one newton, marking a leap for China's HETs from millinewton level to newton level.
The applications of HETs include control of the orientation and position of orbiting satellites and use as a main propulsion engine for medium-size robotic space vehicles.
During a test, the thruster showed stable operation, with a specific impulse of 3068 seconds and working efficiency above 70 percent, reaching international advanced level.
Such a high-power HET with features of strong thrust, long working life and high reliability will be able to provide highly efficient impetus for the positioning, orbital maneuvering and motion control of large GEO (geostational orbit) satellites, deep space probes and space shuttle vehicles.
Another major Chinese breakthrough unlocks the three-dimensional structure of the African swine fever virus.
This is laying a solid foundation for developing effective and safe vaccines against the disease.
The research, jointly conducted by scientists at the Institute of Biophysics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), ShanghaiTech University and other institutes, was published in the latest issue of the academic journal Science.
Scientists successfully isolated the epidemic strain of the African swine fever virus, which is spreading in China. It took the research team four months to collect over 100 TB of high-quality data.
The research showed the virus has a unique structure of five layers: the outer membrane, capsid, double-layer inner membrane, core-shell and genome.
It contains more than 30,000 protein subunits, forming a spherical particle with a diameter of about 260 nano meters.