LinkSpace Reusable Rocket Prototype Makes Its Highest Flight Yet (And Lands, Too!)

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." 

Related: China in Space - The Latest News and Launches

LinkSpace's RLV-T5 rocket prototype nears its landing pad during an April 19, 2019 test flight. The company is pursuing vertical launch vertical landing technology for space missions. (Image credit: LinkSpace Aerospace Technology Group)

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.

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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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.