iSpace becomes the first private Chinese company to launch satellites to orbit

With a successful launch from the Gobi Desert blasting off at around 1:10 PM Beijing time (1:10 AM ET), Chinese space launch startup iSpace (which, awesomely, is also called StarCraft Glory Space Technology Co.) became the first private Chinese commercial space launch provider. The company’s SQX-1 Y1 rocket delivered two commercial satellites to an orbit of about 300 km (about 186 miles) above Earth.

The launch is the first successful commercial mission for the SQX-1 Y1 solid-propellant rocket developed by iSpace, which is a four-stage design that can carry up to 260 kg (around 575 lbs) and weights around 68,000 lbs.

This is a major milestone for the Chinese space industry, and iSpace beats out a healthy crop of competitors, including LandSpace and OneSpace, both of which did not succeed in earlier attempts to be the first in China to the private launch market.

Founded in October 2016, iSpace secured a Series A funding round of an undisclosed amount in June, including investment from CDH Investment, Matrix Partners China and Shunwei Capital. The company completed sub-orbital flights in 2018 as precursors to the SQX-1 Y1 rocket.