Milestone for China space push
China has launched its first privately developed rocket from a launchpad in north-western China, the latest milestone in the country’s ambitious space exploration program.
Since coming to office in 2012, Chinese President Xi Jinping has made becoming a “space flight superpower” a top priority for the Chinese Government, which has a goal of sending a permanent manned space station into orbit by about 2022.
The launch of the Chongqing Liangjiang Star rocket, developed by OneSpace Technology, a private firm, marked the first time a non-state Chinese rocket had successfully entered orbit, the Xinhua news agency said yesterday.
The rocket was powered by a solid-fuel engine developed by OneSpace and its control systems were customisable in accordance with user demand, the company’s chairman, Ma Chao, told Xinhua.
It can place a 100kg load into orbit 800km from the earth. It uses energy-saving technology, such as wireless communications instead of wired internet, and by cutting weight has helped lower fuel costs by about 30 per cent.