Chinese smallsat rocket fails to make orbit


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One of the handful of so-called private companies being used by China’s military to develop smallsat solid-fueled rockets, LandSpace, today tried to put its first satellite into orbit, and failed.

The satellite was for Chinese television, but I find the links to China’s military for this rocket too many to dismiss. I initially saw them as direct competition with the new smallsat rocket companies developing in the west, but I got suspicious when I found they all had remarkably similar names (LandSpace, OneSpace, Exspace, ISpace) and that all seemed to be using solid-fueled rockets, most of which were being launched from mobile launchers. Such rockets are almost always developed for military purposes.

These companies might be providing China some commercial services, but they are probably also aimed at giving its military a mobile orbital rocket that can do other things as well.

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