i-Space, a Beijing, China, based private firm, has used their own carrier rocket to place three satellites into space on September 5 — this was China's first satellite launch by a privately built rocket.
The mission was conducted at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China. This was also a first as the debut launch of a private rocket using a government-run space launch site. Many industry observers believe this is a a landmark for China's space industry.
Founded by a number of senior Chinese rocket scientists, they developed the 9.5-meter SQX-1Z solid-propellant carrier rocket that lifted off into a clear sky at 1:00 p.m. from the Jiuquan launch pad. With a diameter of 1.4 meters and a maximum design speed of 1.5 kilometers per second, the rocket flew for more than 460 seconds and reached 108 kilometers above the ground before releasing three mini satellites.
The satellites — one from ZeroG Lab, a privately owned satellite maker in Beijing, and two from ADA-Space, a private firm in Chengdu that specializes in satellite design and data services, will travel ifor an undisclosed period of time as a technological demonstration and will then fall back to Earth for recovery.
Wednesday's launch was the third time a Chinese private enterprise carried out a space mission. This was also the second flight by the i-Space rocket family. The company performed a debut launch in April at a research rocket testing site on the island province of Hainan to verify the design and the equipment of the firm's first product, the indigenously developed SQX-1S.