China's first privately-developed rocket set for launch
China's first privately-developed rocket is set to be launched on Thursday from a test field in northwest China, China National Radio reports.
Chinese private space firm OneSpace will launch the 9-meter and 500-kg mini-rocket, which is capable of sending a 100-kg payload to an altitude of 800 km.
The undated photo shows China's first privately-developed rocket, which is to be launched on May 17 in northwest China. [Photo: Chongqing Morning Post]
According to OneSpace, the launch cost of its rockets has been controlled at 10,000 US dollars per kilogram, only a third of the figure of between 30,000-50,000 US dollars per kilogram on the international market. Besides a comparatively lower launch cost, the rocket also features a strong independently-developed solid propellant engine that can generate a thrust of 35 tonnes.
Founded in August 2015, OneSpace says it plans to produce over 30 M series rockets and 20 X series rockets by 2020.
Based on a report by Beijing-based investment institution FutureAerospace, more than 60 private Chinese firms have entered the commercial space industry over the past three years, focusing on the production and launch of satellites and rockets. This follows a government policy issued in 2015 to encourage the growth of private companies in space.