During its tenth launch attempt, Chinese commercial rocket company Galactic Energy has experienced its first significant failure.
The launch, scheduled for September 21, 2023, at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China, did not proceed as planned. In a statement, Galactic Energy confirmed the loss of a Ceres-1 rocket and its payload, which was carrying the Jilin-1 Gaofen-04B satellite.
Galactic Energy has said that the specific reasons for the failure are currently under analysis and issued an apology to its customers. The satellite onboard belonged to Changguang Satellite Technology (CGST), a commercial remote sensing company.
According to the company’s website, the Ceres-1 rocket, also known as Gushenxing 1 (GX-1), is capable of carrying payloads of 400 kilograms into Low Earth Orbit (LEO) or 300 kilograms into Sun-Synchronous Orbit (SSO) at an altitude of 500 kilometers,
Before this incident, Galactic Energy, established in 2018, had successfully executed nine launches since November 2021.
Galactic Energy is also developing the Pallas 1, a new reusable rocket comparable to SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch vehicle. It is powered by Cangqiong engines, also manufactured by the company, which run on liquid kerosene and oxygen. With its thrusters, the rocket will be capable of carrying a payload of 5,000 kilograms into LEO.
The first launch of Pallas 1 is scheduled for 2024.