A solid-fueled Kuaizhou 1A launcher carried a commercial broadband communications satellite into orbit Thursday for Galaxy Space, a Chinese company that says it plans to launch up to 144 spacecraft for a space-based 5G network in the next few years.
China led the world with 34 orbital launch attempts in 2019 — including two failures — followed by 22 flights from Russian-operated launch pads and 21 satellite delivery missions originating from U.S. spaceports, all of which were successful.
Demonstrating a quick turnaround launch capability, China launched a light-class, solid-fueled Kuaizhou 1A rocket Sunday, four days after the same type of satellite booster fired into orbit from the same launch pad.
A solid-fueled small satellite launcher named Jielong 1 fired into orbit Saturday on its first flight from northwestern China, debuting a new rocket developed by a spinoff of China’s state-owned launch vehicle manufacturer using a “commercial business model.”
A solid-fueled rocket launched Wednesday by the Chinese startup OneSpace flew off course shortly after liftoff, the second time in five months one of China’s new space companies failed in a bid to become the country’s first private firm to place a spacecraft into orbit.