The Chinese private company LandSpace has completed assembling a three-stage light vehicle ZQ-1, which will be able to bring cargoes of up to 300 kilograms to a low-Earth orbit, reports Ecns. The first launch of the missile with a research satellite on board is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2018.
In 2014, Chinese authorities allowed private companies to engage in space launches and the creation of satellites. After that, several dozens of companies developing booster rockets for commercial space launches appeared in the country. Some companies have already shown the results of their work, although so far only in the form of reduced prototypes of orbital rockets or launches of suborbital rockets that can not reach the near-earth orbit – for example, in May, OneSpace first launched a sub-orbital missile OS-X.
The creation of private carrier rockets in China is also handled by LandSpace. It develops two launch vehicles of different classes – ZQ-1 and ZQ-2. The first of them belongs to the light class and is capable of delivering a payload of 300 kilograms to a low orbit with a height of 200 kilometers, and a rocket capable of delivering a mass of 200 kilograms to a solar synchronous orbit with a height of 500 kilometers. The rocket consists of three stages, and all three use solid-fuel engines. The height of the rocket is 19 meters, and the take-off mass is 27 tons.
The rocket was in development for several years and now LandSpace showed the first copy, which was assembled at its plant. The missile is being prepared by specialists for the first launch, which is to be held in the fourth quarter of 2018. As a payload, the satellite of China Central Television, intended for remote sensing of the Earth, will be used. The rocket should bring it to the sun-synchronous orbit.In addition to the light missile ZQ-1, LandSpace also develops the ZQ-2 missile. It can be attributed to the light or middle class, because it is capable of delivering a payload of up to 4 tons to low Earth orbit. It will use methane liquid rocket engines. While the missile is at the design stage and its first launch is tentatively scheduled for 2020.
In addition to LandSpace in China, there are other companies that have achieved intermediate success in the development of orbital launch vehicles. For example, LinkSpace, which creates a Newline-1 lightweight missile with a return of the first stage, has created several prototypes of the first stage, where it implements soft landing technology after launch:
China also conducts state development of carrier rockets. For example, recently it became known that the promising medium-class carrier rocket “Changzheng-8” will receive the first stage, adapted for re-use. After separating from the second stage, it will land on the engines just as the first stage of Falcon 9 landed. In addition, China is going to create a super-heavy carrier rocket Changzheng-9, but this project is still at the initial stage and the first launch is scheduled for 2030 year