New Chinese launch company signs deal for reusable rocket engines

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HELSINKI – Rocket Pi of China has signed an agreement with a liquid rocket motor manufacturer to supply motors to power its reusable Darwin-1 launcher.

The deal, announced by liquid oxygen methane gas engine maker Jiuzhou Yunjian October 30, is for Lingyun-70 70 ton (sea level) thrust engines with deep throttle capabilities and 12.5 ton Lingyun-10 thrust engines (empty) and is worth “tens of million yuan ”(10 million yuan = 1.56 million dollars).

A single Lingyun-70 will power the first stage of the 2.25-meter-diameter Darwin-1 launcher with a Lingyun-10 engine on the second stage.

Rocket Pi secured tens of millions of yuan in funding in July. This report also said Darwin-1 was scheduled for a test flight in early 2023.

The launcher was previously declared capable of carrying 270 kilograms in low earth orbit or 150 kg in sun-synchronous orbit. However, these earlier plans also indicated that Darwin-1’s first stage would use five Lingyun-10 engines instead of a single Lingyun-70.

The new Chinese launcher Rocket Pi announcement himself in March, presenting plans to develop Darwin-1 and a larger, medium-range launcher. He also announced his intention to launch the ‘Sparkle-1’ biology experiment payload on a Long March rocket in late 2021, as well as launch what has been described as an orbital space biology lab to 2025.

Founder Cheng Wei also hinted at more ambitious projects, including contributing to the development of a “Earth-Moon Space Economic Zone”, An idea put forward by the leader of the main Chinese space entrepreneur, CASC. Rocket Pi was co-founded by Zhuang Fengyuan, professor of space life sciences at Beihang University.

Jiuzhou Yunjian is a Beijing-based aerospace startup founded in 2017. This year, JZJY performed numerous tests of its Lingyun-10 and Lingyun-70 engines, including full fire and restart tests.

JZYJ also obtained an undisclosed amount of funding in January in a cycle led by Zhongguancun Qihang Investment. The investment fund is owned by Zhongguancun Development Group, a high-tech commercialization platform supported by the Beijing government and part of efforts to support Zhongguancun Technology Innovation Center in Beijing’s Haidian District.

Jiuzhou Yunjian had previously signed a contract with Linkspace in 2019 following the latter’s success at an altitude of 300 meters. jump try with an ethanol technological demonstrator. JZYJ was to supply 10 ton thrust motors for a larger technology demonstrator as the next step towards an orbital launcher.

Linkspace has been silent since, with the recent exception of a recruitment notice. job in March of this year.

Another new Chinese launch startup, Deep Blue Aerospace, conducted its own 100-meter level vertical landing and vertical take-off test earlier this month using a kerosene-LOX fueled test article.

Rocket Pi and Deep Blue Aerospace are just one of several Chinese private launch companies developing reusable launchers. Others include the first players in the Chinese commercial sector Terrestrial space and iSpace, as well as new entrants such as Space pioneer and Galactic Energy.


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