China is developing a Long March launch vehicle with a reusable first stage that could have its trial launch as early as 2020, according to a senior Chinese rocket designer
Military could have truly low-cost launch market in five years — if government puts in the effort, experts say
Experts foresee at least four companies with low-cost reusable launch technology.
The launch will be the first to use a previously flown first stage, in this case a stage that launched a Dragon cargo spacecraft last April.
That launch, of the SES-10 satellite, is planned before the end of March. Five more previously flown boosters are also planned later this year.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Aug. 14 successfully placed the JCSat-16 commercial telecommunications satellite into geostationary transfer orbit and successfully landed the rocket’s first stage on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.
Launch-service provider SpaceX on May 30 said it would meet with insurance underwriters in the coming weeks to discuss the company’s plans to certify used rocket stages as fit for reuse, a long-held SpaceX ambition as a way to reduce launch costs.