China’s first attempt to send a satellite into space through a privately funded rocket launch mission has failed.
On Saturday, a privately developed Chinese space carrier reportedly failed to reach orbit after lifting off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi desert.
The rocket launch marks the first-ever attempt by the Beijing-based space company Landspace to send a Chinese rocket into orbit.
Known as the ZhuQue-1, the rocket reportedly had three stages and carried the satellite by the China Central Television Group called ‘Future.’ Landspace announced in a short blog post that an issue with the rocket launch’s third stage resulted in the first and second stages’ failure to reach orbit.
“Before ZhuQue carrier rocket was launched, its mission was already completed,” the company explained. The agency gave no further details about the launch.
Landspace also didn’t indicate if they would be attempting another launch or when it would possibly happen. However, the company has remained optimistic and said that they still consider the launch a success.
China’s Rocket Launch: an Attempt to Compete With International Space Companies
China’s interest in space has grown exponentially over the years. In 2012, President Xi Jinping announced that becoming a “space flight superpower” was one of the government’s top priorities. Since then, China has actively participated in the international space race.
While Landspace was not the first private Chinese company to launch a spacecraft, its recent mission is regarded as the first attempt to reach orbit.
In May and September of this year, OneSpace, another Beijing-based space company, successfully performed two suborbital launches. The two were reportedly just demonstrations and were not intended for orbit.
Before private Chinese space companies entered the rocket launch arena, China’s National Space Administration conducted all space-related missions.
It was only in 2014 that the government allowed private space companies to enter the Chinese space industry. To date, Landspace is still considered to be the most advanced contender in China’s private space marketplace.