Zhuque-3 reusable rocket completes vertical return technology test-Xinhua

Zhuque-3 reusable rocket completes vertical return technology test

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-01-20 01:55:00

BEIJING, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- The vertical return technology of China's reusable rocket Zhuque-3 successfully completed its first flight test at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China, laying the foundation for the maiden flight of the country's first stainless steel liquid carrier rocket.

The flight test verified the vertical recovery of a rocket at low altitude and low speed, matching between the control system and engine thrust adjustment performance, and the rocket vertical recovery's guidance and control algorithm, according to the rocket's developer LandSpace, a Chinese private rocket company.

Zhuque-3 has a diameter of 4.5 meters and uses liquid oxygen-methane as propellant, with its first stage designed to be reused at least 20 times. It can launch multiple satellites at one time, such as flat stackable satellites.

Its storage tank is made of high-strength stainless steel, and it has the potential to reduce launch costs by 80 to 90 percent compared to single-use rockets.

Liquid oxygen-methane fuel is a type of rocket propellant made from a mixture of liquid oxygen and methane, the latter of which is the main component of natural gas.

Zhuque-2, the previous version, was successfully launched and completed the flight mission according to the procedure, making it the world's first liquid oxygen-methane rocket to enter into orbit; a breakthrough in the application of new low-cost liquid propellant for China's launch vehicles.

According to LandSpace CEO Zhang Changwu, the stainless steel rocket body structure can greatly reduce manufacturing costs and shorten the production cycle of rockets. Its high temperature resistance has obvious advantages in multiple return and reuse of rockets.

The first-stage engine of Zhuque-3 can be checked without being separated from the rocket after it is recovered, and can fly again after refueling, much like plane flights, he added.