SpaceX has made what used to be SF imagery almost banal: a rocket taking off, heading into space, then returning to land vertically on its launch pad. The Chinese startup Deep Blue Aerospace has just achieved part of this technological feat with the test of its prototype launcher Nebula-M1, which soared up to 1 km in height before returning to land elegantly vertically. Deep Blue Aerospace’s progress is rather rapid since during the last tests carried out in 2021, the Nebula prototypes were mounted respectively at 10 meters and then 100 meters above sea level!
Deep Blue Aerospace yesterday conducted a one kilometer level launch and landing VTVL test with its Nebula-M test article, as part of development of the Nebula-1 reusable orbital launcher. https://t.co/BaDs7Xyuez
—Andrew Jones (@AJ_FI)
The Nebula-M1 prototype launcher is equipped with a small Leiting-5 engine running on kerosene and liquid oxygen. The next model, the Nebula 1, will this time have the task of climbing up to 100 km thanks to its Leiting-20 engine (4 times more powerful?). There is still a lot of work to be done at Deep Blue Aerospace to make a success of its first orbital flight (with the return of the launcher to Earth), but we note that the startup is rapidly reaping successes and accumulating experience just as quickly for the future.