The Chinese private space developer i-Space has, following the American SpaceX of Teslabaas Elon Musk, presented a reusable rocket. A model of the Hyperbola-2 was shown at a technology fair in Beijing last week. The rocket will be launched for the first time in 2021.
The Hyperbola-2 will use a mixture of liquid oxygen and methane as fuel, just like the Raptor engine that SpaceX is working on for the Starship spacecraft. Traditional rocket engines use a combination of liquid oxygen and hydrogen or liquid oxygen and kerosene.
The rocket, successor to the successful Hyperbola-1, was designed by i-Space, a Beijing-based developer founded in 2016. The first stage of the rocket can be reused, reducing the production costs of the vehicle by 70 percent, said Dong Yanmin, head of technology.
China is filling a gap in the space program with the development of the Hyperbola-2. The country does not yet have reusable rockets, and there is a growing demand for small and medium satellite launch options, Dong said. The rocket must become cheap and reliable.
A first model of the Hyperbola-2 was shown last week at the Zhongguancun Forum 2019 tech fair in the Chinese capital. The 28-meter long rocket, with a launch weight of 90 tons, can bring commercial loads up to a weight of 1900 kilos into a low orbit.