A Hyperbola-1 rocket of Chinese space company iSpace takes off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in Gansu province, China on Thursday. Stringer/ Reuters
A rocket developed by iSpace put satellites into orbit after a launch from a state facility in northwestern China on Thursday, marking the first successful orbital launch by a privately funded Chinese firm.
iSpace’s Hyperbola-1 rocket blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre at 1pm (0500 GMT) Thursday, sending two satellites and payloads into a predetermined orbit, the company said in a statement on its official Wechat account.
The successful orbital launch was preceded by two failures since late last year by other startups.
Beijing-based Landspace attempted to deliver a satellite into orbit in October 2018 but failed. In late March this year, a rocket developed by OneSpace also failed to reach orbit.
Tens of private Chinese space companies have joined a race in recent years to develop rockets capable of delivering low-cost micro-satellites with commercial applications, backed by mostly Chinese venture capital.
In May 2018, OneSpace became the first private firm to send an independently developed rocket into space. That was followed by successful suborbital launches by iSpace four months later.
The next step was to send a payload into orbit, which is partly inspired by the recent technological success of US firms, such as SpaceX and Blue Origin.
The State Council, or cabinet, said in a white paper in December 2016 the space industry was an important part of China’s overall development strategy.
One of China’s near-term tasks is to develop major satellite systems of remote sensing, communications and broadcasting, and navigation and positioning.
President Xi Jinping has made becoming a space flight superpower a priority for the government since coming to office in 2012. The government aims to send a permanent manned space station into orbit by around 2022.
Horton, who took silver behind Sun at the weekend, refused to step onto the top step of the podium for photos after the medal ceremony in Gwangju, as doping allegations swirl around Sun.
American Caeleb Dressel swam the second-fastest 100m freestyle in history to retain his world title on Thursday as China lashed out at the anti-doping protests targeting Olympic star Sun Yang.
President Xi Jinping has vowed to make China a footballing force and is prepared to go to great lengths to do it, sending thousands of toddlers to “Football-focused” kindergartens.
A second grand prix — most likely on the streets — would complement the existing one on the $450 million Shanghai International Circuit. No country currently has two Formula One races, although F1 officials are negotiating for a second grand prix in the United States.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday it would expel two German diplomats from Moscow in a tit-for-tat response after Berlin last week ordered the expulsion of two Russian diplomats.
China and the United States are in close communication on trade, its commerce ministry said on Thursday, declining to comment on possible retaliatory steps if Washington imposes more tariffs on Chinese goods this weekend.
More than 4,000 polling venues across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, including a windmill, several pubs, a hair salon and a chip shop, opened their doors for a day of voting that ends at 2200 GMT.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist government has said the so-called Citizenship Amendment Bill that was approved by parliament on Wednesday was meant to protect besieged minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.