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LANDSPACE's Zhuque-2 Makes Debut Flight; Fails in Stage 2 Burn

Zhuque-2 has launched for the first time, making it the first Methalox powered rocket to reach space. However, a failure occurred in stage 2 flight ending the chances of it being the first to reach orbit.

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Drew B.

Drew B.

Wed Dec 14 2022Written by Drew B.

Zhuque-2 has conducted its maiden flight from the Jiuquan Cosmodrome. Under the power of its 4 TQ-12 methalox powered engines, the vehicle appears to have lifted off at ~08:30:25 UTC. There was no stream provided of the launch, so it was up to local observers and people inside mission control to share updates of the mission status. The vehicle appears to have successfully gone through ascent, Max-Q, staging, ignition of the single TQ-12 stage 2 engine, and fairing deploy. However, during the stage 2 burn, it appears the vehicle suffered an anomaly, causing a loss of mission. Regardless of mission outcome, Zhuque-2 has gained the title of first methalox rocket to reach space, beating SpaceX's Starship, Relativity Space's Terran 1, and ULA's Vulcan rocket.

What Is Zhuque-2?

Zhuque-2 is a 3 stage methalox power rocket, capable of hauling 6T of cargo to LEO. On the first stage are 4 of the TQ-12 engines, which produce 658KN of thrust at sea level, and 745KN of thrust in vacuum. Stage 2 is powered by a single TQ-12 engine, and additionally is accompanied by 4 TQ-11 engines, which act as vernier engines for attitude control. Stage 3 is powered by a single TQ-11 engine, of which produces 80KN in vacuum. The vehicle has a diameter of 3.35m and is 49.5m tall.

Video taken inside the launch control can be found here