China has successfully tested the technology that can accurately control the landing site of falling rocket parts, making it the second country, after the US, to master the technology.
The achievement pushes China one step further toward reusable launch vehicles.
“We plan to finish testing, recycling and reusing the entire rocket by 2025, which will later be applied to certain projects,” said the rocket chief designer Mou Yu.
However, the success does not guarantee a reusable rocket. China has only completed controlling the landing site of rocket debris and managed to recycle those parts, instead of the entire rocket.
“Why are there so many engineers working on recycling rockets? Because they want to lower the cost. If the recycling cost is lower than the reusable parts, we would be cutting down the cost of launching a rocket,” said a person familiar with the matter.
China developed this technology primarily for safety concerns, according to CGTN. Residents in landing areas will no longer need to be evacuated before launches. This should also help improve the cost efficiency.