China’s Private Space Industry Prepares to go into Orbit

The maiden launch of the sub-orbital OneSpcace Chongqing Liangjiang Star rocket.
The maiden launch of the sub-orbital OneSpcace Chongqing Liangjiang Star rocket | Image credit: OneSpace

Private Chinese startup LandSpace is set to launch their first Zhuque-1 orbital vehicle later this month. The launch will be the first by a private entity in China as the country’s private space industry continues to grow.

At the moment, all orbital rocket launches are performed by the by the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC), or semi-private subsidiaries of the state-owned defense contractor. However, several Chineses startups including LandSpace, LinkSpace, iSpace and OneSpace are currently developing their own orbital launch vehicles.

During an announcement on the opening day of the International Astronautical Conference, LandSpace officials revealed that they would look to launch the first Zhuque-1 from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center later this month. The Zhuque-1 is a three-stage solid-fuel rocket. Standing a 20 meters tall and 4 meters in diameter, the rocket is capable of launching 300 kilograms into low Earth orbit and 200 kilograms into a sun-synchronous orbit.

The late October launch will look to deploy an experimental payload designated Weila-1 for the state-owned China Central Television (CCTV) broadcaster. The small satellite weighs just 40 kilograms and will be utilized to perform space science experiments and remote sensing.

Although LandSpace will likely be the first private Chinese company to launch an orbital mission, both OneSpace and iSpace have already launched successful sub-orbital mission. Both providers are looking to build on their early success and will look to launch their own orbital vehicles in 2019.

Andrew Parsonson is a space enthusiast and the founder of Rocket Rundown. He has worked as a journalist and blogger for various industries for over 5 years and has a passion for both fictional and real-life space travel. Currently, Andrew is the primary writer for Rocket Rundown as we look to expand our reach and credibility.