American startup tests a prototype of a reusable second stage

American startup Stoke Space has published a video taken at its test site. It demonstrates the successful flight of a prototype reusable second stage.

Stoke Space was founded in 2020 by a group of former SpaceX and Blue Origin employees. Their main goal is to create a fully reusable orbital rocket that can be launched into space again 24 hours after the previous flight.

During its existence, the company has attracted over USD 75 million in investments. In the summer of 2023, it began testing a vehicle called Hopper2. This is a prototype. Stoke Space engineers use it to test technologies designed for the second stage of the new rocket. Hopper2 is equipped with an oxygen-hydrogen engine and a heat shield, which uses oxygen for cooling.

After a series of static fire tests, Hopper2 took to the air for the first time. It happened on September 17th. The vehicle rose to a height of 9 meters, after which it made a successful landing. The total flight time was 15 seconds.

Testing of the prototype of the reusable second stage of the company Stoke Space. Source: Stoke Space

According to a statement from Stoke Space, the test allowed testing the operation of the engine and thrust vector control system, heat shield, as well as avionics, software and ground systems. Now the company intends to focus its main efforts on the development of a reusable first stage. Stoke Space has set a very ambitious goal to carry out the first orbital flight already in 2025.

You can also read about how the startup TransAstra is developing a prototype of an inflatable bag designed to catch space debris.

According to

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