A Chinese startup called LandSpace is about to start testing reusable rocket landings

A Chinese startup called LandSpace is about to start testing reusable rocket landings

Landspace, a Chinese launch startup, seems prepared to test rocket launches and landings.

On December 8, the business launched its third Zhuque-2 rocket powered by methane, which successfully placed two satellites into orbit. Plans for a massive Zhuque-3 reusable rocket, which it hopes to launch into orbit for the first time in 2025, were also disclosed after the launch.

With satellite imagery revealing activity at a test stand at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert, a modest step toward that far-reaching journey is now anticipated in the near future.

Similar to the SpaceX Falcon 9, Landspace has prepared an 11-foot-diameter (3.35-meter) test article that it will launch to a height of about 328 feet (100 meters) and attempt to land using variable thrust engines and landing legs.

The test article for the proposed hop has the same diameter as the 162 feet long (49.5 meters) Zhuque-2, but it is shorter than the 251.3 feet (76.6 m) long Zhuque-3, which is intended to have a diameter of 14.8 feet (4.5 m).

The methane engines and other technologies created for the Zhuque-2 will be incorporated into the new rocket. When expendable, the Zhuque-3’s payload capacity will be 46,300 pounds (21,000 kg) to low Earth orbit (LEO), and when the first stage is recovered, it will be up to 40,350 pounds (18,300 kg).

As the search for reusable rockets in China heats up, another Chinese launch startup, iSpace, recently conducted its first hop tests at Jiuquan.

A methane-fueled rocket was launched into orbit by Landspace, the first in the world, but bigger launchers will soon be operating in other locations. United Launch Alliance is scheduled to launch its new Vulcan Centaur for the first time in January, while SpaceX recently launched its massive Starship for the second time and is getting ready for a third test flight.