China Private Space Startup LinkSpace Launches a Reusable Rocket

Chinese private space startup LinkSpace completed its third test of a reusable rocket in Qinghai province on Aug. 10, pushing China one step further in the reusable rocket industry as well as affordable space launches.

LinkSpace’s RLV-T5 rocket flew to a designated height of 300 meters (984 feet) and landed with a landing accuracy of 7 centimeters in 50 seconds, according to the company.

“When it landed safely, I almost cried,” posted Chu Longfei, CTO of LinkSpace.

LinkSpace's RLV-T5 rocket taking off (Photo Source: )
LinkSpace’s RLV-T5 rocket taking off (Photo Source: LinkSpace)

China’s world famous science fiction writer Liu Cixin was at the site counting down for the launch.

The company plans to launch its next-generation RLV-T16 rocket, which will be able to reach up to a height of 150 kilometers, next year, CEO Hu Zhenyu said. To greet a successful launch, LinkSpace would need a recoverable turbopump-feed liquid rocket engine, according to Jzyjspace, another Chinese private aerospace service provider.

The previous two tests with RLV-T5 reached 20 meters and 40 meters above the ground in March and April respectively.

LinkSpace's RLV-T5 rocket
LinkSpace’s RLV-T5 rocket (Photo Source: LinkSpace)

China has been making great strides in the field of reusable rockets. Five days earlier, China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology successfully tested a technology that can accurately control the landing site of falling rocket parts, marking a milestone in the reusable rocket industry.

LinkSpace's RLV-T5 rocket
LinkSpace’s RLV-T5 rocket (Photo Source: LinkSpace)

“Only when you lower the cost of rockets, there is profits. If we can recover rockets at a lower cost than the rockets themselves, the industry will benefit a ton. That is also the key of Elon Musk’s success,” said a person familiar with the matter.