Milestone! Methane-powered rocket puts satellites into orbit

Isbel Lázaro.

cohete propulsado por metano

Inspenet, December 21, 2023.

A few days ago, LandSpace carried out the third launch of Zhuque-2, its rocket powered by liquid methane and oxygen (metalox) . This event marked the first time in history that a Zhuque-2 successfully placed a payload into orbit, specifically the Honghu, Honghu-2, and Tianyi-33 satellites.

Zhuque-2: the first rocket powered by liquid methane and oxygen

The first launch of a Zhuque-2 in December 2022 resulted in failure due to problems in the second stage maneuvering engines, resulting in the loss of the Zhixing 1B satellite. The second launch, carried out on July 12 of this year, was successful, although on that occasion it did not carry payload as a precautionary measure.

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Thus, LandSpace has achieved a milestone by becoming not only the first company to put a metalox-powered rocket into orbit, but also the first to make it operational, surpassing its competitors, especially SpaceX with the Starship and United Launch Alliance with the Vulcan.

In November, Starship made its second launch, showing significant improvements over the first, although it failed to place the second stage, which was the main objective, on a suborbital trajectory. Meanwhile, Vulcan is conducting its first propellant loading test in preparation for a possible maiden launch on December 24.

In addition, they surpass Relativity Space, which launched its Terran 1 on March 23 of this year, but failed to reach orbit and has since announced that it will not carry out any more launches to focus on the development of the Terran-R. Instead, LandSpace is already focused on the development of Zhuque-3 , an improved version of Zhuque-2.

This new version is expected to be operational by 2025.

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