Hyperbola 1 (SQX 1) Data Sheet

Hyperbola 1 (SQX 1) Data Sheet

Shian Quxian 1 (SQX 1 or Hyperbola 1) is a small four-stage, mostly-solid fueled orbital launch vehicle developed by China’s Beijing Interstellar Glory Space Technology Ltd., a company also known as iSpace. SQX 1 reached orbit on its first attempt in 2019, but two subsequent attempts using upgraded version both failed to reach orbit in 2020.

Both SQX-1 versions had 1.4 meter maximum diameters. The inaugural version stood 20.8 meters tall and had upper stage and fairing parts that tapered to 3.2 meters diameter. It weighed 31 tonnes at launch, rose on 42 tonnes of thrust, and could lift 260 kg to sun synchrnous orbit. For the second launch, the upper stage diameter increased to 1.4 meters, matching the first stage.

The length grew to 24 meters. Payload increased to 300 kg to sun-synchronous orbit. Both versions use grid fins at the base of the first stage to augment early steering. The rocket may be based on solid rocket motors from DF-11 or DF-15 ballistic missiles.


During 2018, iSpace conducted two suborbital tests as part of its development effort. One, which was 8.4 meters long, weighed 4.6 tonnes, and used standard fins, was named SQX-1S. The other, which used four grid fins for atmospheric steering, was named SQX-1Z.

SQX-1 Inaugural

China’s Beijing Interstellar Glory Space Technology Ltd. (iSpace) successfully performed the inaugural orbital flight of its SQX-1 (Hyperbola-1) launch vehicle from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on July 25, 2019. Liftoff took place at 05:00 UTC. The four-stage rocket, possibly based on solid rocket motors from DF-11 or DF-15 ballistic missiles, weighed 31 tonnes at launch. It stood 20.8 meters and had a 1.4 meter maximum diameter.

SQX-1 is designed to lift 260 kg to sun synchronous orbit. On this flight it boosted several small satellites into a 280 x 299 km x 42.7 deg orbit.

Also read: Soyuz – Space Launch Report

SQX-1 Fails

China’s Beijing Interstellar Glory Space Technology Ltd. (iSpace) suffered a failure of its SQX-1 (Hyperbola-1) launch vehicle from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on February 1, 2021. Liftoff took place at 08:15 UTC. The failure occurred shortly after liftoff. After rising cleanly from its launch stand, the rocket began a pitch program, but then, possibly while accelerating through MaxQ, something happened to the front part of the rocket. The vehicle disentegrated soon after. No payload had been announced for the flight. It was the second SQX-1 orbital attempt, following an inaugural success on July 25, 2019.

On March 1, iSpace announced that an investigation had determined that a piece of foam insulation, which was designed to fall away after liftoff, had struck and retarded one of the four steering grid fins located at the base of the first stage. The foam piece later fell away, causing the grid fin to move suddenly, which caused the rocket to veer away from its desired angle of attack.

The four-stage rocket was 24 meters long, an increase of 3.2 meters from the inaugual version. It retained its 1.4 meter maximum diameter. Liftoff thrust was 42 tonnes. Gross liftoff weight likely exceeded 31 tonnes. Payload capability was listed at 300 kg to a sun synchronous orbit, 40 kg more than for the first SQX-1

SQX-1 Fails Again

China’s Beijing Interstellar Glory Space Technology Ltd. (iSpace) suffered a second failure of its SQX-1 (Hyperbola-1) launch vehicle from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, this time on August 3, 2021. Liftoff took place at 07:39 UTC. Although all four solid motor stages and liquid attitude control systems fired correctly, the payload fairing failed to separate normally, preventing the achievement of orbital velocity. The rocket’s payload was not identified.

SQX-1 succeeded on its July 25, 2019 inaugural flight, but an upgraded version failed on February 1, 2021 when foam insulation, which was designed to fall away after liftoff, struck and retarded one of the four steering grid fins located at the base of the first stage. The foam piece later fell away, causing the grid fin to move suddenly, which caused the rocket to veer away from its desired angle of attack.

The four-stage rocket, possibly based on solid rocket motors from DF-11 or DF-15 ballistic missiles, is 24 meters long, an increase of 3.2 meters from the inaugual version, and 1.4 meters maximum diameter. Liftoff thrust is 42 tonnes and gross liftoff weight likely exceeds 31 tonnes. Payload capability is listed at 300 kg to a sun synchronous orbit, 40 kg more than for the first SQX-1.
The inaugura orbit.

Vehicle Configurations

 LEO
Payload
(metric tons)
 ConfigurationLIftoff
Height
(meters)
Liftoff
Mass
(metric tons)
SQX-1
Version 1
0.26 t (300 km x 98.7 deg) Three solid stages and a liquid insertion fourth stage20.8 m31 t
SQX-1
Version 2
0.3 t  (300 km x 98.7 deg) Three solid stages, all 1.4 m diameter, and a liquid insertion fourth stage24 m>31 t

Vehicle Components

 Stg 1Stg 2Stg 3Stg 4Payload
Fairing
Diameter (m)1.4 m1.4 m1.4 mm1.4 m
Length (m)  ~ ~
Propellant Mass (tonnes)     
Empty Mass (tonnes)     
Total Mass (tonnes)     
Engine     
Engine Mfgr     
FuelSolidSolidSolidLiquid 
Oxidizer     
Thrust
(SL tons)
42 t    
Thrust
(Vac tons)
     
ISP (SL sec)     
ISP (Vac sec)     
Burn Time (sec) s ss  
No. Engines111  

SQX 1 Launch Log

                        SQX 1 ORBITAL SPACE LAUNCH LOG

DATE     VEHICLE           ID      PAYLOAD                 MASS(t) SITE*      ORBIT*
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
07/25/19 SQX 1             F1      Weilai 1                        JQ          LEO
02/01/21 SQX 1             F2                                      JQ         [FTO][1]
08/03/21 SQX 1             F3                                      JQ         [FTO][2]
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[1] Foam insulation, designed to fall away after liftoff, struck and retarded one of 
     the four steering grid fins located at the base of the first stage. The foam 
     piece later fell away, causing the grid fin to move suddenly, which caused the 
     rocket to veer away from its desired angle of attack.

[2] Payload fairing failed to sepaarate.


 Site Code:

JQ = Jiuquan, China 

 Orbit Code:

EEO/M = Molynia (12-hr) Elliptical Earth Orbit
FTO = Failed to Orbit
FSO = Failed Suborbital
GTO = Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit
GTO+ = Supersynchronous or High Perigee Transfer Orbit
GTO- = Subsynchronous Transfer Orbit
GTOi = Inclined GTO
GEO = Geosynchronous Orbit
HCO = Heliocentric (solar) Orbit
HTO = High Earth Transfer Orbit
LEO = Low Earth Orbit
LEO/S = Sun Synchronous Low Earth Orbit
LEO/P = Polar Low Earth Orbit
MEO = Medium Earth Orbit
MTO = Medium Earth Transfer Orbit 
SUB = Suborbital
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