China makes first successful private orbital rocket i-Space launch

A carrier rocket developed by a Chinese private company successfully launches to send two satellites into orbit from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China, on July 25, 2019. (Chinatopix Via AP). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

BEIJING, Jul 26, 2019, AP. A Beijing-based rocket developer sent two satellites into orbit Thursday, becoming China’s first private company to successfully complete an orbital launch, state media said, reported The Mainichi.

The launch took place from a satellite center in northwest China on Thursday afternoon, Xinhua state news agency reported.

Xinhua said the SQX-1 Y1, a four-stage small commercial carrier rocket, was developed by the firm i-Space.

i-Space said in a statement about the launch that it marked a “new chapter” for China’s private commercial space industry. “i-Space was formed in the era of the nation trying to become a space power,” the statement said.

China’s space program has developed rapidly. When it conducted its first crewed mission in 2003, it became the third country — behind just Russia and the U.S. — to put humans into space using its own technology.

Another Beijing-based firm, Landspace, attempted to deploy a private satellite-carrying rocket last October, but the rocket failed in its third stage.

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