Chinese Space Company Launches First Commercial Craft

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If It Wasn’t A Race Before, It Is Now

Back in April, China announced its own plans to put a base on the south pole of the Moon. The Moon, it seems, is the new black.  After all, the United States, India, Russia, the European Union, and now China all want bases there. Apart from that, though, there’s also a commercial space race brewing. Here in the U.S. Elon Musk has SpaceX and Jeff Bezos has Blue Origin. Plus Boeing and other American companies are working on commercial space partnerships with NASA. In the UK, Sir Richard Branson has Virgin Orbit. Now, a Chinese space company has entered the mix: i-Space. (I know. I’m smacking my head over that name, too.) 

Okay, so the name of the company isn’t exactly original, but it’s better than the firm’s alternative names: Beijing Interstellar Glory Space Technology Ltd or StarCraft Glory. No. I’m not making those up. Regardless of how we bastardize the names in English, though, they are now the first Chinese space company to successfully launch a satellite into orbit.  

That video is from the Chinese state-run media outlet, CGTN, so there’s that. But it does look pretty impressive.  

The Rundown

The private Chinese spacecraft, called Hyperbola-1, launched from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi desert of Northwest China on Thursday. The craft used an SQX-1 Y1 rocket to carry its payload into orbit. Hyperbola-1 was carrying two satellites. 

i-Space isn’t the only Chinese space company. In fact, there are over 100 private companies in China that are registered in the space industry. They are, however, the first company to successfully launch a craft into orbit. Recently two other Chinese companies failed at launch attempts. One called Landspace attempted a launch last year that failed. The other, OneSpace achieved suborbital flight in May but failed to reach its goal to get into orbit.

While i-Space is technically a private company, the Chinese government has invested billions of dollars into such corporations. China also became the first country to put a rover on the far side of the Moon, recently. With the resources, manpower, and drive, China is in this race to win it. 

Going for Distance, or Going for Speed

China certainly does have a lot of resources. However, the fact remains, for the moment at least, that the United States spends more on space exploration than anyone else. Yes, we are going to the Moon again. That’s important and there’s a lot of important work to be done there. We’re doing it, however, as Jim Bridenstine reinforced last Friday, as a stepping stone to get to Mars. Most of the other countries aren’t talking about those next steps yet. If Vice President Pence has his way, Americans will be the first to get back there. Even if we’re not the first to the starting line, however, chances are good that we’ll be the first at the finish.


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Brandon Humphreys

Brandon Humphreys

I'm a wizard. I write stuff and it goes from my head into yours - Magic! Apart from that, I am the Senior Editor for Space Porn, a veteran, a rock guitarist, and a teacher.

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