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