'First liquid rocket' built by Chinese private firm eyes 2022 maiden flight
Published: Jan 19, 2022 08:55 PM
Photo: Landspace

Chinese private company Landspace completes its first stage four-engine assembly for Zhuque-2 in February 2021. Photo: Courtesy of the Landspace

Zhuque-2, a new methane-liquid oxygen fueled rocket built by Chinese private company Landspace which is believed to be the strongest rocket developed by a Chinese private-sector company, is set to make its maiden flight this year, sources with the Beijing-based company told the Global Times on Wednesday.

According to the sources, Zhuque-2 is a two-stage liquid propellent rocket, with a diameter of 3.35 meters and a height of 49.5 meters. It weighs 216 tons and has a launch thrust of 268 tons.

The rocket will be able to send a payload of 4 tons into a 500-kilometer Sun-synchronous orbit, or a payload of 6 tons into low Earth orbit.

To put it vividly, it is capable of sending two standard sport utility vehicles into space in one go, the sources said.

If the launch is successful, Zhuque-2 will become the first use of methane-liquid oxygen propellent technology in China, and it will become the first liquid rocket developed by a Chinese private firm to deliver the feat.

On Tuesday,, citing satellite imagery and deleted social media postings, reported that work is progressing on a new complex for facilitating methane-liquid oxygen launch vehicles at the Jiuquan Launch Center in Northwest China's Gansu Province.  

The US-based space industry site said in the report that the launch of Zhuque-2 could be seen as a marker of the progress of China's nascent commercial sector.

Landspace declined to reveal the exact schedule for the inaugural Zhuque-2 mission, but revealed that it could be this year.

A source close to the matter told the Global Times that the mission will take place from the Jiuquan launch site. 

The company completed its first stage four-engine assembly for Zhuque-2 in February 2021, according to previous reports.