Andrew Jones, for gbtimes, on Linkspace’s Grasshopper:
The RLV-T5 technology demonstrator will attempt vertical takeoff, vertical landing (VTVL) and is designed to verify key technologies including variable thrust, multiple engine restarts and roll control with its flight and recovery tests, according to a press release (Chinese).
This follows development of smaller scale rockets such as the RLV-T3 for VTVL and hover tests performed early in 2018, similar to demonstrations by Masten Space Systems.
Earlier this month Linkspace held successful ignition tests with five RLV-T5 engines, creating the colourful shock diamonds or Mach rings seen in the exhaust plume.
Linkspace is interesting to follow along with, and I’m excited to see how they do with their bigger hardware. But check out the photo in the article—they consistently use forced perspective like this to make their hardware look enormous.
It’s certainly bigger than their last demonstrator, but they make it look huge by positioning a building way in the background, then a guy a good distance behind the RLV-T5, and even the transporter is parked on an angle, so that the rocket is closer to the camera than everything else.
They did the same thing with their tethered hopper flights at the beginning of the year. A clever PR strategy, but sometimes some real scale and context would be nice.