First rocket de­signed by pri­vate com­pany launched

The Star Malaysia - - World -

BEIJING: China has launched its first pri­vately de­vel­oped rocket from a launch­pad in north­west­ern China, state me­dia said, the lat­est mile­stone in the coun­try’s am­bi­tious space ex­plo­ration pro­gramme.

Since com­ing to of­fice in 2012, Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping has made be­com­ing a “space flight su­per­power” a top pri­or­ity for China, which has a goal of send­ing a per­ma­nent manned space sta­tion into or­bit by around 2022.

Yes­ter­day’s launch of the Chongqing Liangjiang Star rocket, de­vel­oped by Beijing­based pri­vate firm OneS­pace Tech­nol­ogy, marked the first time a non­state Chi­nese rocket had suc­cess­fully en­tered or­bit, the Xin­hua news agency said.

“The rocket is pow­ered by a solid fuel en­gine de­vel­oped by OneS­pace and its con­trol sys­tems are cus­tomis­able in ac­cor­dance with user de­mand,” said the com­pany’s chair­man, Ma Chao.

Also known as the OS­XO, the craft can place a 100kg load into or­bit 800km from the earth, ac­cord­ing to state me­dia.

The rocket uses en­ergy­sav­ing tech­nol­ogy such as wire­less com­ mu­ni­ca­tions in­stead of wired In­ter­net which, by cut­ting weight, has helped lower fuel costs by about 30%, Xin­hua said.

Founded in 2015, OneS­pace is the re­sult of a gov­ern­ment ef­fort to foster China’s com­mer­cial space flight and en­cour­age pri­vate par­tic­i­pa­tion in the sec­tor.

The com­pany ex­pects 10 mis­sions for car­rier rock­ets in 2019, founder Shu Chang told the China Daily news­pa­per last week.

“I hope we can be­come one of the big­gest small satel­lite launch­ers in the world,” he said.

Last year, OneS­pace signed a deal with the state­run Chongqing Liangjiang Avi­a­tion In­dus­try In­vest­ment Group to build a joint re­search and man­u­fac­tur­ing base in Chongqing.

The base’s strate­gic lo­ca­tion as part of China’s Belt and Road ini­tia­tive – a key for­eign pol­icy ini­tia­tive by Xi that aims to de­velop trade links be­tween China and Eura­sia – would pro­vide a large ex­port mar­ket for OneS­pace, Shu said.

“We will de­velop big­ger rock­ets in the fu­ture and par­tic­i­pate in the global com­pe­ti­tion,” he added. — Reuters

— Reuters

Up, up and away: The ‘Chongqing Liangjiang Star’ rocket tak­ing off from a launch­pad at an undis­closed lo­ca­tion in north­west­ern China.

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