A Chinese private company launched a suborbital rocket carrying three nano-satellites, for two Chinese commercial companies, into space on 25th from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre

Two other Chinese start-ups have tried to put satellites in orbit previously, but failed

New Delhi: Beijing-based start-up iSpace successfully put satellites in orbit on Thursday afternoon – becoming the first private Chinese firm to do so.

The company’s Hyperbola-1 rocket blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre, carrying two satellites and several experimental payloads, according to Global Times. This is the largest and most powerful rocket built by a private Chinese space company, iSpace said in a statement.

According to a SpaceNews report, the launch vehicle had three solid stages and a liquid-propellant fourth stage.

While Thursday’s successful launch may have put iSpace on the map, the company has more plans for the future. Hyperbola-2, a 2.5-meter-diameter, 38-meter-tall launch vehicle powered by liquid-methane and liquid-oxygen engines, is under development, SpaceNews reported.

In an interview to a Chinese website, iSpace vice-president Huo Jia had said that he believed there would be just one or two commercial launch companies in China in the next 5-10 years, SpaceNews said. “China’s rocket technology is very mature,” Huo was quoted as saying. “The key is that the satellite downstream application market has not been developed, so the demand for satellite launch is not great.”

Two other Chinese start-ups have tried to put satellites in orbit previously, but failed. Landspace made an attempt in October 2018 and OneSpace in March 2019, but neither made it to orbit, Reuters reported.

Several private space companies are trying to make their mark in China, after the government opened up the launch and small satellite sectors to private capital. “The speed of the development of launch vehicles by private companies in China has been accelerated by a civil-military integration national strategy, facilitating the transfer of restricted technologies to approved firms in order to promote innovation in dual-use technology,” according to SpaceNews.