China's first private rocket fails

A private Chinese company has failed in its bid to send a rocket, carrying a satellite for state broadcaster CCTV, into space.

China's first private rocket fails

The first attempt by a private Chinese company to send a rocket into space has failed.

Beijing-based Landscape said late on Saturday that the first and second stages of its ZQ-1 rocket worked normally, but that something went wrong with the final of the three-stage rocket.

It was the first three-stage rocket built by a private company in China.

A video posted by a Chinese news site shows the 19-metre-tall red-and-white rocket lifting off on Saturday against clear blue skies.

Landscape said that "cowling separation was normal but something abnormal happened after the second stage".

Chinese media reports say the rocket was carrying a satellite for state broadcaster CCTV.

The current leader in private space flight, SpaceX, said over the weekend that it had completed a static fire test of a Falcon 9 booster that will be used in a demonstration mission for NASA's commercial crew program.

"One step closer to flying astronauts to the [International Space Station]!" the company tweeted.

Earlier this month, SpaceX conducted its first launch and landing from the west coast of the United States, which was the 30th successful landing of a booster.

Last week, satellite communications provider Viasat signed a deal with SpaceX to use its Falcon Heavy launch vehicle -- best known for putting a Tesla car into space in February -- to launch a Viasat-3 Ka-band communications satellite between 2020 and 2022.

"Viasat chose the SpaceX Falcon Heavy for its ability to fly a near direct-injection mission, inserting a Viasat-3 satellite extremely close to geostationary orbit. As a result, the spacecraft can begin in-orbit testing quickly after launch, rather than spending weeks or months performing orbit-raising maneuvers," Viasat said in a statement.

"This is expected to enable Viasat to turn on its ultra-high-speed broadband service much quicker after launch than is possible with other launch vehicles."

Viasat is sending three of its 1Tbps-capable Ka-band satellites into orbit to give it global coverage. The first two will focus on the Americas, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, while the third will be pointed at the Asia-Pacific.

In July, a rocket built by a Japanese startup exploded seconds after a failed lift-off. Television footage showed the 10-metre pencil rocket lifted only slightly from its launch pad before dropping to the ground and disappearing in a fireball.

With AAP

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