Chinese Responds to SpaceX: Successful Test of Reusable iSpace Missile

ISPACE, based in Beijing, took a significant step towards creating its own reusable launch vehicle, successfully conducting a full-scale test of the first step of the Hyperbola-2 rocket. The test that took place at the Zyutsuan cosmodrome in the Gobi desert in northern China lasted less than a minute, but this time was enough to confirm the company’s readiness to launch the larger and powerful Hyperbola-3 rocket in 2025.

The official statement in the ISPACE WeChat account notes that the test “provided strong technical support for the development of the Hyperbola-3 missile, which we are currently working on.” The success of the test was a breakthrough for the commercial space sector of China and launched the country’s desire to catch up with world advanced technologies in the field of reusable missiles.

The test of vertical take-off and landing (VTVL) showed the accuracy of landing 1.7 meters, and the first stage of the Hyperbola-2 missile reached a height of 178.4 meters before the controlled descent and landing. This flight confirmed the general scheme of the company to develop the restored first stage and related technologies, including the draft system, navigation and management during landing, as well as buffer and supporting devices.

Earlier this year, ISPACE announced the passage of plans for Hyperbola-2 and intention to immediately go to a larger and powerful Hyperbola-3 length 69 meters, planning the first flight in two years. The restored Hyperbola-2 is a smaller missile with two steps, operating on methane and liquid oxygen, a length of 28 meters and a carrying capacity of 1.9 tons in low near-earth orbit.

The most powerful device in the Hyperbola-3 family, including three models, has a configuration similar to the Falcon Heavy from the American company SpaceX. Hyperbola-3B with a central block and two side accelerators will be able to send up to 8.5 tons of cargo to low near-earth orbit in reusable mode.

ISPACE, which in 2019 went down in history as the first private Chinese company launched a rocket in orbit, is one of several Chinese companies working on reusable missiles. Competitors, such as Galactic Energy and Cas Space, used reduced test samples to check the technologies and navigation algorithms, control, and control in the phase of vertical restoration of their missiles.

/Reports, release notes, official announcements.