China Launches First Privately Developed Rocket
Since coming to power in 2012, Chinese President Xi Jinping has made space exploration a priority or China. The country is one step closer to their goal of becoming a “space flight superpower” today after news first privately developed rocket was successfully launched from northwestern China on Thursday.
The “Chongqing Liangjiang Star” rocket was developed by OneSpace Technology, a Beijing-based private firm. Its launch is the first time a non-state Chinese rocket has left Chinese soil.
The rocket is powered by solid fuel and can carry a 100-kilogram load into orbit 800 kilometers from the earth. The rocket is reportedly designed to be customizable in accordance with user demand.
The rocket was able to reduce its fuel costs by 30 percent through reducing the overall weight of the rocket by using wireless communications instead of wired internet. OneSpace was founded in 2015 and is a direct result of the Chinese Government's dedication to expanding commercial space flight and encourage private participation in the sector.
Founder of OneSpace, Shu Chang told the China Daily newspaper that the company already has 10 missions for carrier rockets in 2019. “I hope we can become one of the biggest small-satellite launchers in the world,” Shu said.
The privately held company has teamed up with the state-run Chongqing Liangjiang Aviation Industry Investment Group to build a research and manufacturing base in the southwestern city of Chongqing. The location of the base is a strategic decision to strengthen trade links between China and Eurasia.
“We will develop bigger rockets in the future and participate in the global competition,” Shu said. The news from China follows Australia's announcement that it will establish its own national space agency.
Australia's Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham spoke at the Opening Ceremony of the 2017 International Astronautical Congress (IAC) here, explaining that the new agency will benefit all Australians. "I am truly excited by the potential this announcement will bring to Australia and South Australia, with opportunities to inspire a new generation to literally see the world as their universe and embrace the potential benefits of studying science and related disciplines," Birmingham said.
The space industry is worth $318 billion annually globally and $3.1 billion in Australia alone. The Australian government has predicted that the creation of the agency may boost the industry’s domestic value to $14 billion by 2019.
The Department of Industry, innovation, and Science describes the agency’s goals saying. The Agency will “support the development of Australia’s space industry so that it can compete effectively in the global space sector” as well as “coordinate domestic activities in Australia’s space sector.” The agency will commence on July 1, 2018. Little more is known about the Agency’s long-term goals. No more details about the agency have yet been released.