Privately developed Chinese rocket, carrying satellite, fails to enter orbit

Chinese media reports say the rocket was carrying a satellite for state broadcaster CCTV.— AFP

The problem arose soon after the separation of the second stage.

While Landspace is not the only private company in China with celestial ambitions, it was hoping with its 19 metre (62 feet) tall ZQ-1 to become the first to send a rocket into outer space.

According to a report, it was the first three-stage rocket developed by a Chinese private firm.

China is the third country in the world (after the United States and Russia) to have a private company capable of independently developing liquid-oxygen/methane engines for its rockets.

The launch took place at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in China's northwestern Gansu Province Saturday. Zhuque-1, or ZQ-1, is the first commercially-built Chinese three-stage rocket.

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While this was a setback for Landspace, it wasn't as dramatic a failure as Interstellar Technologies' attempt to be the first Japanese company to launch a rocket into space in late June, when its MOMO-2 rocket barely got off the launch pad before falling back down and exploding. Landscape said in a statement that it still believed its decision to develop satellite-based missiles was correct. That's already a great achievement.

The rocket was meant to launch a small satellite for China Central Television (CCTV) which includes hardware designed for remote sensing and space science experiments. Landspace was founded a year later.

While Zhuque didn't put the microsatellite into orbit, the Chinese start-up said the launch wasn't a total failure.

President Xi Jingping said China could become a "space flight superpower" with a manned space station in orbit by 2022.

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