iSpace Carries Out First Commercial Launch in China
The Beijing-based aerospace startup has made a major breakthrough in the industry, becoming the first Chinese private firm to launch a commercial flight.
The first private commercial satellite vehicle in China's history was launched at 13:00 (GMT+8), July 25.
Designed and manufactured by Beijing-based rocket startup iSpace, four-stage launch vehicle Hyperbola-1 is a 20.8-meter-tall rocket with a maximum take-off weight of 31 tons. It is carrying commercial cargo for Changan Automobile Co. along with two satellites belonging to Beijing Institute of Technology and the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), a state-owned company known for its key position in the national space program.
This is not first China's attempt to launch a private commercial satellite vehicle into orbit. In late March this year, OneSpace, another Beijing-based private launch enterprise, reportedly failed in its attempt to do this.
China's private spaceflight companies are being extensively invested: according to the ITjuzi database, CNY 19.30 billion (USD 2.81 billion) was pumped into the sector in 2017. This figure shrunk to CNY 11.23 billion (USD 1.63 billion) in the following year. Some aerospace-focused investors lost confidence in the industry after the March incident. Now, the picture may change for the better.
Global aerospace industry is seemingly gaining momentum this week. Apollo's 50th anniversary spurred countries to accelerate development in this field. For one, India successfully started its Lunar landing mission Chandrayaan-2 on July 22.
Founded in October 2016, iSpace (Beijing Interstaller Glory Space Technology Ltd., 北京星际荣耀空间科技有限公司) represents the last generation of Chinese high-tech startups. The firm has undergone four rounds of funding led by well-known investors, including as Matrix Partners China (经纬中国), Fosun Group (复星集团) and CDH Investments (鼎晖投资).