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Chinese company's rocket launches 3 satellites into orbit

That's three for three for a Chinese rocket company.

Galactic Energy of China sent a Ceres-1 solid rocket into orbit Tuesday (Aug. 9) from the Jiaquan Satellite Launch Center, according to social media posts.

Chinese state media confirmed the successful rocket launch at 12:11 a.m. EDT (0411 GMT or 12:11 p.m. local time), which is the third successful launch for Galactic Energy. "Galactic Energy launched the Ceres-1 carrier rocket from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on 12:11pm Tue, successfully placing three commercial satellites into a solar synchronous orbit of 500 km [310 miles]," the Global Times stated (opens in new tab) on Twitter.

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On board were two Taijing-1 satellites and a Donghai-1 satellite; China has not released details about the future tasks of these three small machines.

Galactic Energy is one of a large set of Chinese companies seeking to conduct operations in Earth orbit. Notable examples include iSpace, which is planning new launches of its Hyperbola 1 and Hyperbola 2 rockets, and Landspace, which is preparing to launch its Zhuque 2 rocket in the coming months.

Galactic Energy's Ceres-1 rocket made its first launch on Nov. 7, 2020. (Image credit: Feature China/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Other Chinese companies working in space include Orienspace, Deep Blue Aerospace, Space Pioneer, Space Transportation and Linkspace. These various firms are vying for commercial contracts from state-owned companies, like Expace, CAS Space and China Rocket.

Meanwhile, the China National Space Administration operates a series of rockets known as Long March. The most recent launch, a Long March 5B, saw 25 tons of debris crash to Earth in the Pacific Ocean following a successful deployment of a part of the under-construction Tiangong space station currently hosting three taikonauts.

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022. She was contributing writer for Space.com (opens in new tab) for 10 years before that, since 2012. As a proud Trekkie and Canadian, she also tackles topics like diversity, science fiction, astronomy and gaming to help others explore the universe. Elizabeth's on-site reporting includes two human spaceflight launches from Kazakhstan, three space shuttle missions in Florida, and embedded reporting from a simulated Mars mission in Utah. She holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, and a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science since 2015. Her latest book, Leadership Moments from NASA, is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday.