China to test commercial rockets in 2020 and 2021
Test flights for two more commercial space rockets will take off in 2020 and 2021
China has scheduled test flights for its Smart Dragon rockets for 2020 and 2021.
The schedule of the tests was released by China Rocket Co, a unit of state-owned China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp.
Following the tests, the two Smart Dragon rockets will be used for commercial flights.
In August, Chinese private Smart Dragon-1 completed its first mission, delivering three small satellites to Earth orbit.Before that, Chinese company iSpace made the country's first-ever private orbital launch.
Smart Dragon-2, which is a solid-propellant rocket, will be tested in 2020. With its weight reaching 60 tonnes and a total length of 21 metres, the spaceship will be able to send over 500kg payloads into orbit.
Smart Dragon-3, a bigger rocket of 116 tonnes and 31 metres, will be tested in 2021. It will be able to send 1.5 tonne payloads into orbit.
According to Reuters, China is planning to use commercial satellites for a wide range of services, including high-speed internet, tracking shipments etc. All new rockets are set to be reusable.