Chinese upstart LandSpace Technology Corp. has overtaken Elon Musk’s SpaceX in the race to launch a methane-fueled rocket, according to a US news agency.
According to the news service, the development has boosted the Asian nation’s objective of challenging the United States as the leading power in space.
According to CCTV, a state channel, the Chinese company launched its rocket, ZQ-2, from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in Gansu province on Wednesday.
After a botched first attempt in December, the successful launch comes months later. An anomaly in a supplementary second-stage engine caused the effort to fail.
The company announced in March that it had implemented improvements that had proven beneficial in ground tests.
The rocket landed at the launch facility in May, nine days after leaving LandSpace’s production base in Jiaxing, the business claimed, with final-stage preparations beginning on July 6.
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Musk’s SpaceX and other businesses have been working on rockets that can use methane as fuel since it is cleaner and safer than the current fuels.
“The successful launch by LandSpace provides the Beijing-based company with bragging rights and boosts President Xi Jinping’s strategy to have China challenge the US in the race to dominate space,” according to a US news agency.
“[It’s] a major milestone,” said Maxime Puteaux, a key advisor with Paris-based Euroconsult who studies the space company.