First reusable launch vehicle test flight completed, marking milestone for China's space industry

(Global Times) 14:05, December 12, 2023

Chinese private aerospace firm iSpace completed the country's first reusable launch vehicle test on Sunday. The achievement marks a milestone in China's development of space technology.

The Hyperbola-2 is the company's latest model for reusable launch vehicle tests. During the flight, the vehicle reached an altitude of 343.12 meters, with a flight time of 63.15 seconds, and landed with a landing speed of 1.1 m/s and a landing attitude angle of 1.18 degrees.

The rocket had its first stage test flight on November 2, with a well-controlled descent and touchdown. I-Space then spent less than 20 days on preparation and maintenance work for the rocket.

The test flight verified the reuse capability of a full-size liquid-oxygen-methane rocket and its reliability for low-altitude descent and touchdown, as well as the testing process, norms, and standards. It also verified the company's rocket recovery system, marking a step forward in the global market of reusable launch vehicles.

The successful test flight of the Hyperbola-2 rocket represented more than just a technological breakthrough for iSpace. In the field of reusable launch vehicles, large companies including SpaceX and Blue Origin have established dominant technology advantages. The success of the iSpace test signals that the Chinese company is making strides in the emerging market.

China has continuously invested in the space sector and maintains advancements in key areas. On Sunday, the Yaogan-39 satellite was successfully launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province, marking the completion of the 500th flight mission of China's most iconic Long March series rockets.

China's private companies have been increasingly involved in the development of space technology in recent years. On Saturday, Landspace successfully launched a Zhuque-3 rocket with three satellites, Honghu, Honghu-2, and Tianyi-33, marking the first time the startup company has sent satellites into orbit.

(Web editor: Tian Yi, Liang Jun)


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