China makes first successful private orbital rocket launch | AP business

China makes first successful private orbital rocket launch | AP business”

A Chinese startup successfully launched the country's first commercial rocket capable of carrying satellites into orbit Thursday, as the space race between China and the U.S. heats up.

The SQX-1 Y1 solid-fuel carrier rocket, the first in the SQX-1 series, blasted off at 1:00 pm from a launchpad at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in Northwest China's Gobi Desert. Launches by LandSpace and OneSpace in October and March, respectively, both failed, triggering concern about the health of the country's private space industry.

China's space program has developed rapidly. The "SQX-1 Y1" is also the most powerful rocket ever developed by a private Chinese company. Its launch capacity allows it to transport satellites with a total weight of 500 kilograms into a sun-synchronous orbit 500 km above the Earth, according to the company.

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Its first orbital launch vehicle is 21 meters high (69 ft), and weighs 31 t at lift-off.

The carrier rocket Hyperbola-1, the first orbital launch vehicle independently designed by Beijing Interstellar Glory Space Technology Corporation, is a four-stage small solid launch vehicle sent with the vertical thermal emission method.

Two other private Chinese rocket builders, LandSpace and OneSpace, have both failed to launch their rockets into orbit in the previous year. "I-Space is proud to witness this historical moment, as we are trusted with this opportunity and challenge by the industry and the market", I-Space said in its official statement.

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