On Wednesday, a Chinese company successfully launched the world’s first methane-liquid oxygen rocket into orbit, surpassing competition from the United States in developing the next generation of space launch vehicles.
The rocket, named Zhuque-2, took off at 9 am (0100 GMT) from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China and completed its flight as planned, as reported by state media.
This launch marked the second attempt by LandSpace, a Beijing-based company involved in China’s commercial launch industry, to launch the Zhuque-2. Their initial attempt in December was unsuccessful.
By launching the Zhuque-2, China has taken the lead over its US rivals, including SpaceX led by Elon Musk and Blue Origin led by Jeff Bezos, in the competition to develop carrier vehicles powered by methane. Methane is considered a cleaner, safer, and more affordable propellant option for reusable rockets.