China launches first private rocket into orbit

This is the first successful orbital launch of a commercial rocket carrying multiple satellites by a private Chinese company.

SQX-1 rocket launched recently by a private Chinese company.
SQX-1 rocket launched recently by a private Chinese company.
Screen cap from China Mosaic's coverage of the rocket launch.

BEIJING - Recently, a Chinese private aerospace company, i-Space, successfully launched its own carrier rocket SQX-1 into orbit, giving new momentum to the development of the private aerospace industry.

This is the first successful orbital launch of a commercial rocket carrying multiple satellites by a private Chinese company. It also completed its assigned tasks of advertising in space and sending back footage. Unlike previous rockets developed by state-owned aerospace institutions for major space missions, in the future, private rockets can be used for purposes other than scientific exploration, which will greatly boost development of the domestic aerospace industry.

The U.S. commercial rocket industry has developed for nearly 20 years. In contrast, China's private aerospace sector has only existed for a few years. However, the Chinese mainland is now home to more than 100 private aerospace companies, which have made strides in their development. Last year alone, four private sounding rockets were successfully launched from China.

From 2014 to 2016, the Chinese government released several policies to encourage private funding of commercial rocket launches, so as to promote fast growth of a commercial aerospace industry, and to step up military-civilian integration in the sector.

Before the SQX-1 rocket suceeded, two private carrier rockets were launched in China, but both failed to reach orbit. 


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