China’s private space firms hope to join commercial aerospace

Beijing-based One Space, one of the commercial aerospace start-ups in China, will launch a new rocket series in June.

At the company’s office, over 100 engineers were busy on their laptops, sketching 3D animations of what the rocket would look like.

The 50-ton OS-X rocket is designed for suborbital flights in order to provide high-altitude research and test services.

The successful launch of the SpaceX Falcon rocket has inspired many start-ups in China, with at least seven private companies venturing into the space race, despite the restrictions in the commercialization of the space flight program.

Chief Executive Officer of One Space, 32-year-old Shu Chang, believes its only a matter of time before China’s commercial aerospace industry grows.

“We have good heritage in space technology. We also have very good engineers in China," said Shu. "I believe there will be some famous space companies like SpaceX in China."

But commercial aerospace in China is facing a much less investment than in some developed countries.

One Space has so far only received 500 million yuan – about 80 million US dollars – in funding. Shu says it’s only the first step to greater things and will hopefully widen the African market.

“Every step is a new step in China's commercial space industry, [and] the most important is that we can improve the atmosphere and supply chain here," said Shu.