China To Launch Private Methane-Powered Rocket

  • The private Chinese company has 16 investors.
  • The company conducted its first launch of the Zhuque-1 rocket on 27 October 2018.
  • Zhuque-1 is a three-stage launch vehicle.

At the end of August, the Chinese company LandSpace completed several rounds of engine testing for its ZQ2 rocket and intends to conduct its first launch next year. About writes the edition “people’s daily”. LandSpace or Landspace Technology Corporation is a Chinese private space launch company based in Beijing.

China’s Zhuque-1 rocket technology.

LandSpace was founded by Tsinghua University in 2015. There are 16 Investors into the company. This month, Chinese private rocket company LandSpace Technology Co., Ltd. has completed RMB1.2 billion yuan series C+ round of financing. This round of financing was jointly led by Sequoia Capital China Fund, Country Garden Venture Capital, Matrix Partners China, and a unit of Stone VC.

The company conducted its first launch of the Zhuque-1 rocket on 27 October 2018. However the payload failed to reach orbit due to an issue with the third stage.  The take-off was successful, but after separating the second stage and dropping the fairing, the rocket was unable to put the cargo into the calculated orbit.

It was then carrying the Weilai satellite, which belonged to the state-owned CCTV television company.

Zhuque-1 is a three-stage launch vehicle with a total length of 19 meters and a diameter of 1.35 meters, the take-off weight of the ZQ-1 is 27 tons, and the launch thrust is 45 tons.

According to LandSpace itself, the Q2 liquid-fueled medium-weight rocket, which is currently being developed by the LandSpace, will have a length of 49.5 meters, a diameter of 3.5 meters and a launch mass of 216 tons. The rocket will be equipped with China’s first TQ-12 methane engines, two of which have already passed launch tests.

During its first flight, which is scheduled for 2021, ZQ-2 will have to put several small satellites into a sun-synchronous orbit, where this rocket can theoretically deliver four tons of payload. It will be able to lift six tons of cargo to a lower orbit with a height of 200 kilometers.

Huzhou city in the Northern Zheijiang province, China.

In the near future, LandSpace intends to start mass production of the EI-2 missiles and EI-12 engines at its plant in Huzhou in the East of the country.

Huzhou is a prefecture-level city in northern Zhejiang province, China. Lying south of the Lake Tai, it borders Jiaxing to the east, Hangzhou to the south, and the provinces of Anhui and Jiangsu to the west and north respectively.

According to the head of the company, Zhang Changwu, in 2022, this plant will be able to produce 15 such missiles and 200 engines per year.

Furthermore, China continues to build new defense and space equipment. However, majority of such technology is based on the foreign intellectual property. However, will China economy be able to sustain new equipment and costs. It should be noted, last month, the president of China advised to be wise with food.

Overall, the results are unclear. China is not known for huge successes in this sector. Hence, for now it is just another start-up.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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