– News of May 1, 2018 –
The reusable rocket is a subject that divides. There are two approaches: those who are cautious and who are waiting to see, like Europe, and those who seem convinced of the soundness of technology and are already developing their reusable rockets, such as SpaceX and Blue Origin. The European approach is understandable because apart from SpaceX’s statements, there is no way of knowing whether the reuse brings a real economic benefit. ESA, CNES and Ariane Group have therefore chosen to develop a serie of demonstrators to be familiar with the reuse and get a better idea of savings. Ariane Group is developing a new family of rocket engines based on Prometheus. Although not yet adopted, methane propulsion and reuse seem to be taken seriously.
China is also skeptical about the reusable rocket, maybe even more than Europe. But China can not ignore the advances of SpaceX either. LinkSpace is a private company in the country that wants to develop reusable rockets. Its first launcher, New Line 1, will be equipped with a first floor able to return to land. It is however a light rocket with a capacity of 200kg in low orbit.
Much heavier reusable rockets are also envisaged but on this side the governmental space program is working on Long March 8.