Photo was created by Webthat using MidJourney
Launch Success and Sea-based Mission Preparation
Chinese commercial space startup Galactic Energy achieved an impressive feat by successfully launching its seventh Ceres-1 solid rocket. The rocket, carrying a payload of seven satellites for various clients, blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert at 12:03 a.m. Eastern on August 10. This accomplishment marks a significant milestone for the Beijing-based company as it gears up for an even more groundbreaking venture – its inaugural sea-based rocket launch.
Pioneering a Sea Launch
Having established its reputation with seven consecutive successful launches, Galactic Energy is ready to push the boundaries further. The company is preparing to execute the first-ever sea launch by a Chinese commercial rocket firm. This landmark endeavor involves launching the Ceres-1 rocket from a mobile sea platform situated off the coast of Haiyang, Shandong province. The designated launch window opens on August 20 and extends until the end of the month.
Satellite Payload and Mission Objectives
The most recent launch carried an assortment of satellites, each serving distinct purposes. Among them was the Xiguang-1 (01), a hyperspectral satellite belonging to the Xikuang-1 series developed by Xi’an Zhongke Xikuang Aerospace Science and Technology Co., Ltd. This satellite is equipped with multiple payloads, including hyperspectral, infrared, and panchromatic cameras, as well as an onboard intelligent processing unit, enabling diverse Earth observation applications.
Ecological Sustainability and Constellation Building
The Xi’an Hangtou series comprised four lightweight, low-power optical satellites designed to contribute to ecological sustainability in the Qinling region of Shaanxi province. These satellites align with Xiopm Space’s focus, the company behind their development. Additionally, the mission featured the Star Pool 1B satellite, developed by Elliptical Space and Time (EllipSpace), with the aim of constructing a constellation of over 100 “intelligent” satellites.
AI-Centered Satellite and Breakthroughs
The Geosat Intelligent Emergency-1 satellite, a collaborative effort between Geosat 2 Space Technology (Hangzhou) Co., Ltd. and Suzhou Tianxun Space Technology Co., Ltd., is equipped with an intelligent operating system. It boasts high-resolution array cameras, near-infrared cameras, IoT communications payloads, and onboard intelligent processing technology. In the broader context of China’s commercial space industry, 2023 has witnessed several breakthroughs, including successful launches of liquid propellant and methane-powered rockets, as well as an increased launch rate.
Future Prospects and Expanding Access to Space
The achievements of Galactic Energy are part of a broader trend in China’s commercial space sector. Companies like iSpace, Space Pioneer, Landspace, CAS Space, Expace, and Orienspace have all contributed to the industry’s growth. With the establishment of commercial launch pads at Wenchang, Hainan island, and the sea launch facilities at Haiyang, the commercial and liquid launcher capabilities are poised to expand, further unlocking the potential of China’s commercial space ventures.