/Linkspace of China Has Third Reusable Rocket Hop Test

Linkspace of China Has Third Reusable Rocket Hop Test

LinkSpace, a chinese rocket launch startup, had its third reusable rocket hop test.

Linkspace CEO Hu Zhenyu said on Weibo that the 1.5-metric-ton rocket reached an altitude of 300 meters during a 50-second flight before making a powered descent and vertical landing with an accuracy of 0.07 meters.

There is a Youtube video of the test.

Linkspace will upgrade to a sub-orbital RLV-T6 tech demonstrator rocket and it will be able to fly to 62 miles of altitude.

A NewLine-1 orbital launcher is planned for 2021 and it will be able to take a 200-kilogram payload to 500 kilometer sun-synchronous orbit (SSO).

World of Reusable Rockets

In Reusable rockets we appear to have:
First Mover – SpaceX
Fast Followers – Blue Origin and Chinese Long March, China startups, Rocket Labs
Late Entrant – Europe

Rocket Labs announced plans to recover the first stage using parachutes and a helicopter catching the rocket.

China aims to recover the first stage of the Long March-8 carrier rocket, which is still under development and is expected to make its maiden flight around 2021, according to a Chinese rocket expert.

European Ariane is working on a reusable rocket engine called Prometheus and they created animation of the Themis reusable rocket design. They have a three-year study planned which lead to powerpoints and a report with design proposals.

Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin is working towards reusable rockets and has had supersonic sub-orbital tests. Blue Origin has not launched any rocket to orbit despite starting before SpaceX. SpaceX has had about 75 successful launches delivering payloads to orbit for customers.

In May 2018, China startup i-Space said they would develop a reusable sub-orbital spaceplane for space tourism. Space Transportation is a launcher manufacturer which aims at developing reusable rockets for small payloads (100 – 1000 kg payload capacity on its Tian Xing – 1 rocket. China has a dozen rocket start-ups and almost all are aiming for the small payload range. Linkspace and iSpace started working on reusable rockets in 2014.

Space Transportation is looking at a gliding and a parachute system instead of SpaceX-style retropropulsive landing. SpaceX tried and failed to make parachutes work for stage recovery.

Chinese startups Space Transportation and LinkSpace are performing reusable rocket tests now. They are at the Advanced Grasshopper stage or the Blue Origin supersonic sub-orbital stage.

April 22, 2019, Space Transportation carried out a test April 22 in northwest China in cooperation with Xiamen University, launching a 3,700-kilogram technology demonstrator named Jiageng-1. The Jiageng-1 reaching a maximum altitude of 26.2 kilometers and a top speed of above 4,300 kilometers per hour. The rocket was recovered at a designated landing site.

SOURCES- Weibo Linkspace, iSpace, Linkspace, Rocket Labs, Blue Origin
Written By Christina Wong, Nextbigfuture.com