Chinese commercial startup iSpace has successfully launched a small suborbital solid-fuel rocket. Launched early on Wednesday, the Hyperbola-1Z carried three small satellites that later parachuted back to Earth.
The Hyperbola-1Z lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the Gobi Desert at 05:00 UTC (13:00 local) on Wednesday, September 5, 2018. Although exact details of the flight are not known, iSpace claim that the single-stage Hyperbola-1Z can reach an altitude of 175 kilometres with a velocity of 1.6 kilometres per second.
Aboard the rocket were three microsats that were deployed into Earth’s upper atmosphere. The first was a simple technical verification sat, Tianfu Junrong-1 (TFJR-1). The other two payloads were for commercial customers. Chengdu Gaoxin-1 (CDGX-1) was developed, as was the verification sat, by ADA Space. The third and last sat deployed was the EREBUS-1 for Beijing ZeroG Technology Co. Ltd.
As the Chinese commercial space industry heats up, many providers are beginning to launch their vehicles. The next launch is expected is less than 24 hours with OneSpace launching their Chongqing Liangjiang, an OS-X suborbital rocket. Additionally, LandSpace Technology recently announced that they plan to launch their first orbital mission later this year. If successful, it will be the country’s first commercial orbital mission.