In a groundbreaking achievement for China's emerging commercial space sector, Orienspace's Gravity-1 rocket has completed its inaugural journey, marking a significant milestone in the nation's space exploration endeavors. The compact and robust launcher made history by taking off from a sea platform in the Yellow Sea with precision, creating a defining moment in the records of space travel.
The launch not only captivated onlookers with the spectacle of the rocket emitting twin plumes of exhaust against a clear blue sky but also demonstrated a remarkable feat of technology. The Gravity-1 rocket, now recognized as the most potent solid-fueled launcher to successfully execute an orbital mission, carried three Yunyao-1 commercial weather satellites into their designated orbit. Orienspace has officially confirmed the success of this noteworthy launch.
With a payload capacity of approximately 6,500 kilograms to low Earth orbit (LEO), the Gravity-1 rocket represents the most powerful commercial rocket developed by a Chinese company to date. This accomplishment highlights China's expanding capabilities and aspirations within the competitive realm of space exploration and satellite deployment.
Orienspace is looking to the future with ambitious plans for its rocket fleet. The Gravity-2, currently in the developmental phase, will feature a liquid-fueled core stage alongside solid rocket boosters. Expected to debut in 2025, the Gravity-2 aims to significantly enhance payload capacity, potentially reaching up to 25.6 tons to LEO.
Additionally, the company envisions the creation of the Gravity-3, a formidable launcher incorporating three Gravity-2 core stages in a configuration reminiscent of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy, which utilizes three Falcon 9 boosters. Anticipated to have a payload capacity of approximately 30.6 tons to LEO, the Gravity-3 aims to establish itself as a heavyweight competitor in the global space launch market.