The Chinese private launch company Landspace which is licenced by, but not run by, the Chinese state has had its first launch – and its first launch failure. The Zhuque-1 launch vehicle – better known as the ZQ-1 – was launched from the Jiuquan launch site at 0800 GMT on 27 October 2018. The launch. All appeared to go well with the first two solid rocket stages firing as planned. However, the rocket had a third stage failure with a loss of attitude control reported after third stage ignition. The only satellite that was carried by the flight was the CCTV-1. This was a small 40kg space science and remote sensing satellite operated by Chinese Central Television.
The ZQ-1 was originally planned to be a four stage solid rocket called LS-1 which was 21m long with lift-off mass of 58 metric tons. The maximum diameter was to be 2m. This was changed to the three stage ZQ-1 which is 19m long and 1.35 m diameter. Lift of mass is 27 metric tons.
The ZQ-1 is very much a learning rocket. The firm’s longer range plans involve moving to a series of liquid fuel rockets starting with the ZQ-2.