Commercial carrier rocket Jielong-1 launches satellites
The Jielong-1 rocket, the first commercial rocket produced by the stateowned China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp (CASC), was launched on Saturday, sending three satellites into orbit, the company said.
The carrier rocket successfully blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Northwest China’s Gansu Province at 12:11 pm Beijing time, according to information released by CASC’S Wechat account.
As an example of civilian-military technology integration in the commercial aerospace area, the rocket is of the highest standard in the industry. The Jielong-1 is the lightest and smallest solid propellant rocket in China, but it is designed with the highest payload capacity.
At 19.5 meters long and with a diameter of 1.2 meters, the solid-propellant carrier rocket can send a payload of 200 kilograms to an orbit of 500 kilometers.
The Jielong-1 rocket is also the first carrier rocket designated for commercial use in China. The Jielong rocket series has been developed for the commercial market, and CASC said that it is targeting the private launch market for small satellites. Its suppliers are decided based on competitive and market-oriented procedures.
According to the statement, the three satellites were made by the Beijing Qiansheng Exploration Technology Co. The main satellite, the Qiansheng No.1 weighing 65 kilograms, is the biggest satellite to have been independently designed and produced by a private Chinese start-up. It is also the first dual-function satellite made by a Chinese start-up, with both remote-sensing and communication capacities.
Xing Qiang, founder of Micro Rocket Union, an alliance of scientists, told the Global Times that the collaboration with state-owned enterprises with rich experience in rocket launches such as CASC, will give the private aerospace companies a competitive edge.
“China is a world leader in terms of rocket launching technology,” Xing said. “A combination of their technology and the more flexible commercial operation mode will give rise to huge innovation potential.”