China’s commercial aerospace company, Deep Blue Aerospace (DBA), has successfully completed a kilometer-high flight and landing test of its reusable Nebula-M1 rocket prototype. The test was conducted on May 6, 2022, the company said in a press release. It is the third successful test of the Nebula-M1 since July 2021, when the rocket completed its first 10-meter hop.
“Deep Blue Aerospace has become the second company in the world to complete all low-altitude engineering tests for vertical recovery and reuse of liquid oxygen and kerosene rockets (the first being SpaceX in the United States),” the press release states.
The Nebula-M1 is roughly comparable to the Grasshopper, a prototype built by SpaceX which flew in 2011 and paved the way for the company’s family of partially reusable rockets.
According to DBA, within 10 months and after just three tests, the company managed to achieve the same results that took SpaceX a year and eight test flights to accomplish.
The company, founded in 2016, aims to build a reusable medium-class orbital launch vehicle that could rival the SpaceX Falcon 9.