The CERES-1, China’s latest launch vehicle that is designed for commercial use, completed a maiden flight on Saturday, November 7, and pushed a satellite into its planned SSO orbit at 500 km.
The solid-propellant rocket blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Northwest China at 3:12 pm (Beijing Time). On board the rocket was a satellite — Tianqi-11 — that is integral to the Tianqi narrowband IoT constellation whose main purpose is to collect data and facilitate transmission. The plan for the CERES-1 is to use this carrier rocket for smallsat launches to LEO.
The launch vehicle was developed by the Chinese firm Beijing Guodian Gaoke Technology Co. Ltd., otherwise known as Galactic Energy, now becoming the second private company in China to have successfully launched a satellite to orbit.
The 50 kg Tianqi-11 satellite was developed by Shanghai ASES Spaceflight Technology Co. Ltd. as a member of China’s Tianqi (“Apocalypse”) narrowband Internet of Things constellation.