SpaceX has, over the past couple of years, established itself as a world leader in the current and future projects associated with the exploration of space. However, China has recently “entered the game” with a flourish.
China really drew the attention of the players in the space race with its launch of a reusable rocket in 2016. The company responsible for the feat is called Link Space Aerospace Technology. While the company plans to manufacture and subsequently launch both satellites and rockets, the expected payload of this equipment is not expected to exceed 200 kilograms. This, combined with the fact that the first commercial launch isn’t expected for another three years means that SpaceX really doesn’t have anything to worry about.
Another Chinese company, Beijing OneSpace Technology Co., Ltd. poses a bigger threat to SpaceX’s domination of the space industry. Last year, OneSpace launched a prototype rocket some 24 miles up into the atmosphere. While this isn’t technically considered “space,” it is an impressive feat by a company as young as OneSpace. They’re already in the process of developing a larger, more powerful rocket, and if the test launch of this new rocket is successful, it could mean that OneSpace will make as many as 10 launches next year. When you consider that the company was only started in 2015 that marks some breakneck development!
OneSpace’s rockets will be different from those of Link Space because they won’t be reusable and will carry even smaller payloads. With that said, it’s unlikely that OneSpace will pose any threat to the SpaceX or the other big space companies either.
Despite the speed at which these Chinese companies are progressing in the space business, they’re still far behind the bigger companies like SpaceX or Rocket Lab.
It would seem that, for now, America’s private space industry will retain the leading position in the development of new space exploration products. But still, China is entering the game at a very impressive rate. That means that companies looking to invest in the space industry would do well to keep an eye on what’s going on in the Far East.