Chinese launch startup performs 100-meter booster hop

Deep Blue Aerospace has successfully completed a 100-meter VTVL test of its Nebula M1 test vehicle.
Image credit: Deep Blue Aerospace

Chinese launch startup Deep Blue Aerospace has completed a 100-meter takeoff and landing test of its Nebula M1 vehicle.

The Nebula M1 vertical takeoff vertical landing test was conducted on October 13 at a facility in the Shaanxi Province 1,000 kilometers southwest of Beijing.

After a successful liftoff, the vehicle reached an altitude of approximately 100 meters before returning to Earth. The vehicle bounced several times as it touched down but reportedly came to rest upright on its four fixed landing legs.

Despite reports of a successful touchdown, the video of the flight does suspiciously cut out just as the wobble seems to subside.

The successful flight of the Nebula M1 was the second of a series of test flights that began with a 10-meter hop in July. Deep Blue describes the test series as “grasshopper jumps,” which refers to the SpaceX Grasshopper flights that preceded what has become a highly successful system that has enabled the launch provider to capture a dominant share of the market.

As the SpaceX Falcon 9 followed Grasshopper, the Nebula M1 will eventually be succeeded by the Nebula-1. The orbital-class launch vehicle is designed to be capable of lifting approximately 500 kilograms into a Sun-synchronous orbit.

Andrew Parsonson is a space enthusiast and the founder of Rocket Rundown. He has worked as a journalist and blogger for various industries for over 5 years and has a passion for both fictional and real-life space travel. Currently, Andrew is the primary writer for Rocket Rundown as we look to expand our reach and credibility.