China Aims for Reusable Rocket Test in 2021

Falcon 9 first stage comes in for a landing after launching the Zuma payload. (Credit: SpaceX)

This whole reusable booster thing seems to be catching on.

China aims to recover the first stage of the Long March-8 carrier rocket, which is still under development and is expected to make its maiden flight around 2021, according to a Chinese rocket expert.

It was part of China’s endeavors to develop reusable space vehicles, Long Lehao, chief designer of carrier rockets at the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, told a space conference in Harbin, capital of northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province.

The Long March-8 rocket will have two stages and two boosters: the first stage and boosters are expected to be retrieved through vertical landing, said Long, who is also an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

If successful, the new rocket would provide commercial launch services to customers around the globe, Long said.

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