Elon Musk-owned SpaceX has been beaten in the race to launch methane-fuelled rockets by Chinese startup, Landspace Technology Corp. Bloomberg informed of.
According to the wire service, the development has strengthened the Asian nation’s goal of challenging the United States as the dominant power in space.
The Chinese company launched its rocket – the ZQ-2 – from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gansu province on Wednesday, according to state broadcaster CCTV.
This successful launch comes months after the first failed attempt in December. The attempt failed due to an abnormality in the supplementary second-stage engine.
The company had said in March that it had taken corrective measures which proved effective in ground tests.
The company said the rocket arrived at the launch center in May nine days after traveling from LandSpace’s manufacturing base in Jiaxing, with preparations for the final stages starting July 6.
Musk’s SpaceX and other companies are developing rockets that could use methane as a fuel – as it could be cleaner and safer than the fuel being used.
According to Bloomberg, “LandSpace’s successful launch gives the Beijing-based company bragging rights and boosts President Xi Jinping’s strategy of China challenging the US in the race for space dominance.”
Maxime Puteux, who researches the space industry as principal consultant at Paris-based Euroconsult, said: “[It’s] A major milestone.”