A suborbital rocket was launched into space Thursday by a start-up in China’s burgeoning commercial aeronautics industry, as private firms snap at the heels of their dominant American rivals.
OneSpace, the Beijing-based start-up behind the launch, is one of dozens of Chinese firms jostling for a slice of the global space industry, estimated to be worth about $339 billion by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and currently dominated by US firms SpaceX and Blue Origin.
The launch aimed to demonstrate an early working model of the company’s OS-X series of rockets, designed to conduct research linked to suborbital flights.
SpaceOne’s work has attracted the attention of several domestic and foreign clients, Chen told AFP, adding that “a number of satellite companies in Europe and Asia have approached us to establish strategic partnerships”.
Chinese start-up, iSpace, launched a suborbital rocket, the Hyperbola-1S, from a test field in the southern island of Hainan last month.
The rocket reached an altitude of 108 kilometres and served as a demonstration for its planned small launcher due to be completed by June 2019, the company’s website said.