China's first private sector 2023 rocket launch up, up and away

2023-January-12 10:16 By: China Daily

A Ceres 1 Y5 rocket, carrying five satellites, lifts off at 1:04 pm Beijing Time from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Northwest China, Jan 9, 2023. [Photo by Wang Jiangbo/for]

Galactic Energy, a private aerospace manufacturer in Beijing, launched its fifth Ceres 1 rocket on Monday afternoon, deploying five small satellites into orbit.

The Ceres 1 Y5 rocket blasted off at 1:04 pm from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert and placed the satellites into a preset orbit shortly after, the company announced in a news release.

It was China's first private sector spaceflight of 2023.

Galactic Energy has had five successive successful launches, outperforming other private competitors and its five Ceres 1 flights have placed 19 satellites in orbit.

There are a number of private rocket companies in the country, but only Galactic Energy and i-Space, another Beijing-based private enterprise, have launched successful orbital missions, which refers to a flight by a carrier rocket that deploys a payload into space orbit.

Before Ceres 1, the SQX 1 rocket developed by i-Space launched two satellites and several experimental payloads into space from Jiuquan in July 2019. The model's maiden flight also marked the first orbital mission by a privately built rocket in China. However, the next three SQX 1 launches failed due to technical malfunction.

The Ceres 1 is about 20 meters tall, has a diameter of 1.4 meters and mainly burns solid propellant. With a liftoff weight of 33 metric tons, it is capable of sending a 300-kilogram satellite or several satellites with a combined weight of 300 kg, to a 500-km sun synchronous orbit, or 350-kg payloads to a low-Earth orbit at an altitude of 200 km.

Ceres 1 is ideal for clients in search of a small, cost-efficient launch vehicle to deploy mini satellites, its designers said.

The rocket made its debut flight in November 2020 from Jiuquan, taking a small communications satellite into space.

Editor: JYZ
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