“China’s commercial aerospace industry has ushered in the best opportunity for development. It has entered the 2.0 era of application attraction and market leadership from the 1.0 era of basic production and product research and development, and will catch up with the development level of the United States within 10 years,” said Yang Yiqiang, the first commander of the missile chief. Long March-11, according to a September 17 report by The Global Times.
Yang is currently the director of the Aerospace Science and Technology Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. On July 27, the successful first flight of Lijian-1, the country’s largest solid-fuel launch vehicle, was carried out by CAS Space, a company involved in its development. After that, Yang’s other title as founder of CAS Space became well known.
Yang said the heyday of China’s commercial aerospace industry will occur by 2027 at the latest, according to three signs. First, satellite constellations are formed on a large scale and launch vehicles enter the high-density launch stage to realize the recovery and reuse of low-cost large-scale liquid rockets. Second, the business model generated by the commercial aerospace industry, such as space tourism, can be realized. Third, navigational positioning, navigation enhancement, low earth orbit internet and remote sensing constellation can provide services to the public and enterprises.
Space travel can be divided into three types. The first involves entering the space station, which has strict requirements for the physical and psychological qualities of the participants. The second is to take participants into space on twin-body aircraft carriers represented by Virgin Galactic’s White Knight, although this mode has poor comfort and safety. The third is sub-orbital travel with mature technology that is suitable for most people.
As business models improve, China is expected to begin suborbital travel in 2025 with prices of around 2 million to 3 million yuan ($285,404 – $428,100).
Yang believes that the key to the development of China’s commercial aerospace industry is not rockets or satellites, but applications. The closer the services are to the common people and the end users, the higher the income of the business. Yang encourages commercial aerospace actors to infiltrate the lives of ordinary people.
Yang stressed that in the field of commercial space industry, China and the United States have formed a certain market scale. The US began promoting the commercialization of space in the 1980s. When Elon Musk founded SpaceX, the industry was mature in the US. Although China’s commercial aerospace operations started late, political support, capital support and market demand will eventually allow it to catch up. 2015 was the first year of the commercialization of China’s space industry. The past seven years have seen the emergence of leading enterprises in the field of launch vehicle and satellite applications.
Currently, China’s commercial space industry has entered the 2.0 era and is expected to enter the 3.0 era within five years. During this period, it is necessary to increase the capacity of the rocket from 5 tons to 14 tons, build a global satellite group, implement rocket recycling and reduce costs.
China’s aerospace development has received great political support. According to a white paper published by the State Council Information Office in January this year, in the next five years, China will cultivate new economic formats such as space tourism, space biopharmaceuticals, space debris disposal and space test services to improve the large-scale efficiency of the space industry.
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Unlike satellite Internet, satellite communication and satellite navigation, the rapid development of the commercial space industry has given rise to new areas of application. According to Future Space, a service platform, in 2020 there were 32 investments and financings in the domestic commercial space area with a total financing amount of 9.013 billion yuan, an increase of 76% year-on-year.