China Lays Out Ambitious 5-Year Plan to Explore Space
FILE - China Lays Out Ambitious 5-Year Plan to Explore Space. On July 25, 2019, Xinhua said the SQX-1 Y1, a four-stage small commercial carrier rocket, was developed by the firm i-Space.

BEIJING - A Beijing-based rocket developer sent two satellites into orbit Thursday, becoming China's first private company to successfully complete an orbital launch, state media said.
 
The launch took place from a satellite center in northwest China on Thursday afternoon, Xinhua state news agency reported.

 Xinhua said the SQX-1 Y1, a four-stage small commercial carrier rocket, was developed by the firm i-Space.

 i-Space said in a statement about the launch that it marked a "new chapter" for China's private commercial space industry. ``i-Space was formed in the era of the nation trying to become a space power,'' the statement said.
 
China's space program has developed rapidly. When it conducted its first crewed mission in 2003, it became the third country – behind just Russia and the U.S. – to put humans into space using its own technology.
 
Another Beijing-based firm, Landspace, attempted to deploy a private satellite-carrying rocket last October, but the rocket failed in its third stage.