Chinese firm makes first successful orbital rocket launch

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China launches two satellites for Pakistan on a Long March-2C rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China, July 9, 2018. The PRSS-1 is China's first optical remote sensing satellite sold to Pakistan and the 17th satellite developed by the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) for an overseas buyer. A scientific experiment satellite, PakTES-1A, developed by Pakistan, was sent into orbit via the same rocket. (Xinhua)

Chinese state media says a Beijing-based rocket developer has become the country’s first private company to successfully complete an orbital launch.

The Xinhua state news agency reported that a carrier rocket sent two satellites into orbit from a satellite center in northwest China on Thursday afternoon.

Xinhua said the SQX-1 Y1, a four-stage small commercial carrier rocket, was developed by the firm i-Space.

China’s space program has developed rapidly. When it conducted its first crewed mission in 2003, it became the third country — behind just Russia and the U.S. — to put humans into space using its own technology.

Another Beijing-based firm, Landspace, attempted to deploy a private satellite-carrying rocket last October, but the rocket failed in its third stage.

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