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Stoke Space Hops Rocket For First Time

Stoke Space has successfully conducted a vertical takeoff and vertical landing (VTVL) developmental test flight of Hopper2 at their test site in Moses Lake, Washington.

  • 1st VTVL Rocket With Differential Throttling
  • 2nd Globally To Fly Reusable Upper-Stage Rocket Prototype
  • 3rd US Company With Liquid Hydrogen Rocket Engine
  • Hopper Technology Demonstration Program Complete
Zac Aubert

Zac Aubert

Mon Sep 18 2023Written by Zac Aubert

Stoke Space has successfully completed the final test in their Hopper technology demonstration program. 

Earlier today Hopper2 conducted a vertical takeoff and vertical landing (VTVL) developmental test flight at Stoke Space's test site in Moses Lake, Washington. During the hop test, Hopper2 rose to an height of 30 feet before descending and landing exactly as planned within its designated landing zone after 15 seconds of flight.


The Hopper2 test flight marked the successful conclusion of Stoke Space's Hopper technology demonstration program, with all planned objectives met. This achievement validates the technical viability of Stoke Space's unique approach to creating reliable and rapidly reusable space vehicles.

The star of the show during this groundbreaking flight was Stoke Space's novel hydrogen/oxygen engine, which powered the Hopper2 throughout its brief yet critical test flight.

Credit: Stoke Space

The regeneratively cooled heat shield also played a pivotal role, showcasing its capability to protect the spacecraft during "re-entry". Additionally, the differential throttle thrust vector control system was instrumental in maintaining the vehicle's stability and attitude control throughout the flight.

"We successfully completed all of the planned objectives. We’ve also proven that our novel approach to robust and rapidly reusable space vehicles is technically sound, and we’ve obtained an incredible amount of data that will enable us to confidently evolve the vehicle design from a technology demonstrator to a reliable reusable space vehicle." - Stoke Space

Stoke Space's avionics, software, and ground systems demonstrated exceptional reliability and performance during this test, underscoring the company's commitment to mastering every facet of reusable rocket technology. The extensive data collected during this program will prove invaluable as Stoke Space continues to refine its vehicle design, moving from a technology demonstrator to a dependable reusable space vehicle.

Stoke Space has earned its place in aerospace history by becoming the fastest company to transition from initial seed funding to demonstrating an orbital-class vertical takeoff and vertical landing rocket. It is now just the third company in the United States to develop a liquid hydrogen rocket engine, firmly establishing its position as an industry leader in innovative rocket propulsion technology.

The significance of this test campaign extends beyond Stoke Space's accomplishments alone. Several industry milestones were achieved during the Hopper2 test flight. Stoke Space became the first to conduct a flight test of a reusable Vertical Takeoff Vertical Landing (VTVL) rocket using differential throttling for attitude control. Additionally, the company conducted the first flight test of a reentry vehicle equipped with an active regeneratively cooled heat shield, surpassing expectations by operating at 100% of the expected heat load in a simulated environment.

Having completed their Hopper technology demonstration program, the company will intensify its focus on the development of a reusable first stage.

Credit: Stoke Space
Credit: Stoke Space

With their revolutionary second stage design, Stoke Space is striving to achieve a feat never before realized in aerospace: a rocket that is 100 percent reusable with a 24-hour turnaround time, advancing the industry further into this new era of space exploration and transportation.