Beijing-based OneSpace attempted - and failed - to send a solid propellant rocket, made to carry satellites up to 100kg (220Ibs), up into orbit. The failure to launch adds to a growing group of well-funded private Chinese companies who have launched small commercial satellites over the past two years. LandSpace’s launch failed at the third stage this past October while iSpace and OneSpace both had successful sub-orbital launches this past year showing the results are still mixed.
As SpaceX’s ambitious vision steals the media spotlight, the rest of the world is developing space sectors to compete and innovate on every level. Not only does this show China’s willingness to continue to privatize delicate industries such as space but also to spur massive private sector investment. Robin Li, the co-founder of Chinas monolith search engine Baidu, has already begun to get involved. More countries are exploring the possibilities in space from mining asteroids for resources to military defence. Just yesterday Indian Prime Minister Modi went onto national television to inform their citizens that they’d just shot down a satellite out of lower earths orbit (making them one of only three other countries with that capability). Space not only offers a wealth of unregulated, potentially commercial opportunities but also a door to where humanity could go next. China cultivating a private space sector could siginifcantly influence how our next step unfolds.