The Chinese company LinkSpace successfully flew a rocket prototype on its highest flight yet, then nailed the landing as the firm pursues reusable spaceflight technology.
The LinkSpace Aerospace Technology Group launched its Reusable Launch Vehicle T5 vehicle on Aug. 10 at the company's Mangai test site in China's Qinghai province. The brief flight, the third for this booster, lasted less than a minute and reached an altitude of just over 984 feet (300 meters). Video from LinkSpace shows the booster rising from its launchpad, then easing back to Earth to land on four legs.
"On August 10, LinkSpace’s third rocket free flight test was successful in Mangai, Qinghai province," LinkSpace representatives wrote in a Twitter update. "The flight time is 50 seconds, the height of flight is 300.4 meters."
The Aug. 10 launch marks the third untethered fight this year of LInkSpace's RLV-T5 reusable rocket. The rocket stands about 27 feet tall (8.1 m) and weighs about 1.5 tons.
On March 27, the company launched the rocket on a short 66-foot (20 m) hop. On April 19, the rocket successfully reached a height of 131 feet (40 m) during a subsequent test.
On August 10, LinkSpace’s third rocket free flight test was successful in Mangai, Qinghai province. The flight time is 50 seconds, the height of flight is 300.4 meters. pic.twitter.com/yTwhJdlMVmAugust 11, 2019
LinkSpace was founded in 2014 by CEO Hu Zhenyu to develop multi-stage reusable rockets capable of launching payloads of up to 441 lbs. (200 kilograms) into orbits that reach altitudes of 310 miles (500 kilometers), according to the company's website.
LinkSpace is targeting the small satellite launch market, with plans to offer nanosatellite launches at lower costs than their competitors, according to Reuters. The company's primary orbital launch vehicle will be the NewLine-1 reusable rocket. It could make its first orbital launch in 2021, Reuters reported.
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