China’s Linkspace Aerospace Technology Group conducted flight tests of the NewLine reusable rocket prototype. NewLine Baby, or RLV-T5 as it is officially known, is 8.1 metres high. It has a weight of 1.5 tons and uses five liquid rocket engines in parallel to get it off the ground.
According to a released video, the rocket hovered in place for 10 seconds after rising to a height of 20 metres during a test flight in eastern China’s Shandong province. According to reprots, the test was designed to check various technologies, including multiple engine thrust adjustment, multiple start, vector nozzle, and roll control ready for subsequent testing at increased heights.
While the rocket itself includes no fresh know how, the private Chinese aerospace company is going to conquer suborbital launch market with this rocket.
“A solid-fuelled sounding rocket now costs 2 to 3 million yuan [$300,000-450,000],” Chu Longfei, LinkSpace’s chief technology officer said. “Our product will cost around one-fifth of that price.”
Additionally, Linkspace Aerospace Technology Group is working on the NewLine-1, a two-stage rocket with a reusable first stage designed to launch microsats and nanosats. This rocekt is fuelled by liquid oxygen and kerosene in its first stage and has a height of 20 metres. The rocket’s maiden launch is scheduled for 2020.
In March, another Chinese private firm, OneSpace, conducted a maiden laucnh of its OS-M solid propellant rocket. The OS-M1 has a length of 19m and a diameter of 2m. According to official claims, it’s capable of carrying a 205-kilogram payload to 300-kilometer low Earth orbit, and 73 kilograms to 800-kilometer sun-synchronous orbit.
However, the OSM-1 maiden launch, which took place in late March, failed shortly after entering second stage flight.