The Japanese Agency for Aerospace Exploration (JAXA) will develop a reusable spacecraft, capable of putting loads in orbit and with a lifespan of more than a hundred launches in order to reduce the costs of space transport.
The new JAXA prototype, designed to be able to deploy observation equipment in space, return to Earth on the same day and be ready to be launched again the next day, will begin to be tested starting in the spring of 2019 and could enter the market in 2020, said the Japanese newspaper Nikkei.
The rocket, about 23 feet long, seeks to reduce the costs of single-use devices and follows the wake of the recently announced NewLine 1, a Chinese reusable prototype that will be put into operation also in 2020, as confirmed by the company Linkspace, responsible for the project, at the end of April.
This is the NewLine-1 reusable configuration! Meanwhile, please look forward to this year's reusable suborbital rocket. pic.twitter.com/rC1kHDJxRj
— Linkspace (@Linkspace_China) April 28, 2018
The Japanese model, which will be tested in the test center that JAXA has in the city of Noshiro (northwest Japan), will initially reach a maximum altitude of 328 feet in the first experimental launches.
The range will progressively increase until it reaches 16,000 feet to test the technology that will allow the rocket to safely return to base.
Although the prototype is of a very small scale, JAXA argues that the technology can also be used in the larger spacecrafts that transport astronauts to the space station.
The US company SpaceX began designing reusable systems in 2011 and has carried out several tests since then, projects that have also been imitated by other space powers such as Russia or China.