China has launched its new Smart Dragon-1 carrier rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gansu province.

Also named as Jielong 1, the solid-fuelled small satellite debuted as a new rocket developed as part of a spinoff of China’s state-owned launch vehicle manufacturer using a ‘commercial business model.’

Carrying three satellites into planned orbit, the 23t rocket is designed for commercial use and developed by a unit of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp (CASC).

Reuters quoted CCTV as saying that the research and development budget of the rocket came from social capital rather than state funding. This demonstrates China’s strategy to commercialise the market to compete with each other.

According to the news agency, Beijing-based iSpace became the first private firm to deliver a satellite into orbit on its rocket last month, when it launched the Hyperbola 1 booster and several small satellites from Jiuquan.

In March, a company named OneSpace failed in an orbital launch attempt, and a rocket launched by another firm LandSpace also faltered before reaching orbit last October.

China Rocket president Tang Yagang was quoted by a state media in a broadcast interview as saying: “We plan to make another launch at the end of this year in the Jiuquan centre.

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“Next year, we are going to make perhaps five launches. All the six launches have been booked by clients.”

Eventually, China expects to launch constellations of commercial satellites that are capable of providing services ranging from high-speed internet for aircraft to tracking coal shipments.