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.