(Yicai Global) July 25 -- China's first commercial space rocket, the Jielong, is scheduled to take its maiden flight next month, signaling a new era in the country's micro and small satellite launch business.
The craft is capable of carrying loads up to 300 kilograms, The Paper reported today. It can also send satellites into different orbits, as clients sometimes need more than one put into space in a single flight. Each launch can cost as much as CNY25 million (USD3.5 million).
Developed by China Aerospace Science and Technology, the rocket stands 19 meters high, has a takeoff weight of 23 tons and a diameter of 1.2 meters. Once the technology becomes more mature, the rocket will be able to send satellites into space within 24 hours of them being delivered to the launch pad, the report said.
CAST is developing two different rocket lines, named Jielong and Tenglong, for commercial space flights. The Jielong series mostly uses solid-propellant rockets, is less reliant on launch pad facilities and is highly flexible in flight, while the Tenglong series mainly uses liquid-propellant rockets and can carry heavier loads.