Watch: In a first, China launches privately owned rocket, eyes space station in 2022
China on Thursday successfully launched its first private rocket at a launch base in the country’s northwestern region. Photograph: (Reuters)
China for the first time today launched a privately developed rocket the "Chongqing Liangjiang Star" with an eye towards sending a permanent manned space station into orbit by 2022.
OneSpace Technology, a Beijing-based private firm manufactured the rocket which was powered by solid fuel engine, company chairman Mao Chao said. The company aims to send 10 rocket missions by next year. "I hope we can become one of the biggest small-satellite launchers in the world," company founder Shu said.
The rocket has a 100 kg payload, significantly it uses energy-saving technology instead of internet power.
Chinese state media said One Space is the result of the Chinese government's effort to foster commercial space flight.
“We will develop bigger rockets in the future and participate in the global competition,” Shu added. Shu Chang added that his startup OneSpace mirrored Musk-controlled SpaceX.
The development of the Chinese military and space technology is one of President Xi's stated goals with the country spending millions of dollars on upgrading its various military hardware, including technology to power rockets, aircraft and drones.
The Chinese government tightly controls the development of space technology but the rise of OneSpace signals the country's intent to develop this space beyond government control more on the SpaceX and Jeff Bezos led-Blue Origin of the US.
Reports said the goal of the first flight of OneSpace was to collect data for a classified research project.