China has launched a program to develop hybrid spacecraft. The vehicle is expected to make space travel much cheaper if it proves successful.
According to China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, the new vehicle will be powered by multiple engines in different phases of the flight into orbit.
These engines include turbine, ramjet and rocket. The core technique is using the air's oxygen as an oxidiser to create power.
Researchers say the hybrid launch vehicle will be mainly used for expeditions of between dozens to hundreds of kilometers from the earth.
"We have made a long-term plan of taking about three to five years to master the key technologies, and significantly improve the capability of the spacecraft during the application," said Zhang Yong, China Aerospace Science & Technology Corp..
"We aim to implement the technology in suborbital flight and orbital insertion by 2030."