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Deep net|Successful launch of the thousand-day one. How far is China's commercial space flight from Space X?

via:博客园     time:2019/8/17 15:49:31     readed:1982

Tencent "Deep Net" Xue Fang

Gansu Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center is located about 200km from Jiuquan City and about 500km away from Alashan League (straight line distance). In the mid-1980s, the launch center began to open, and it needed to take an official name for the outside world. Because it was closest to Jiuquan, it was named Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

After landing at the airport from Beijing Feijia Shaoguan, it will take four hours to get to the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. Along the way, at the end of the road, in addition to sand or sand, the driver said that the place where the trees can be seen generally has water. Where there are water, people live there, and there are not many trees that can be seen on the road.


The long river falls to the sun, and the sunset is accompanied by the road. It is already at 8:30 in the evening. After arriving at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, the first thing that caught your eye was a majestic gate. Standing at the door, you can see the wide road and the tall and tall trees.

This is a small town built in the center of the desert, built in 1958. The purpose of our trip is to watch the launch of the thousand-one-one 01 star at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

14Launch a satellite in a month

At 12:11 on August 17th, 2019, the 1,000-kilometer-one 01 star was launched as the main star of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Group's Jielong No. 1 rocket at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. The star was completed in 14 months, and the whole star weighed 65 kilograms. It obtained more than 30 independent intellectual property rights and completed more than 10 technological innovations and projects.


“Haichuang Qiancheng” is the largest satellite independently developed by China's private satellite startups, and the first operational satellite with both remote sensing and Earth exploration capabilities. It is the promotion of the company. The first show of the remote sensing + & rdquo; (remote sensing + communication + navigation) spatial information fusion application system.

The Millennium Exploration Project plans to complete the construction of 24 satellites in the next four years, as well as the construction and deployment of 4 ground stations around the world, forming hourly spatial information service capabilities at any location in the world, complementing China's on-orbit space infrastructure capabilities and supporting Spatial information applications in the fields of national defense, emergency, land, agriculture, forestry, and urban management.

In foreign countries, SpaceX's Starlink program, Oneweb, which was invested by Softbank, Qualcomm and Airbus, and Athena, proposed by Facebook, all attempted to deploy communications satellites in low-earth orbit to achieve global connectivity.

The data shows that: In 2017, the company took the angel round financing led by Mingshi Capital and Ethereum. In April 2018, it received tens of millions of RMB Pre-A round financing, and the investors were Qingdao Huiquanwan Fund and Shunwei Capital. After 5 months, the pre-A1 round of financing was completed, and Harvest Investment led the investment.

“The satellite is in the sky, the industry is landing”. Commercial aerospace is a new concept that has been in the ascendant in recent years. In the United States, private companies have entered the aviation field much earlier.

In 1984, the then US President Ronald Reagan signed the Commercial Space Launch Act, which allowed private companies to provide the government with extraterrestrial freight launch services, breaking the monopoly of NASA. Subsequently, the US government introduced a series of laws and regulations and funding programs to encourage the development of satellite applications, manned spaceflight, and support the development of commercial space.

In addition to Elon & middot; Musk, and Amazon founder Jeff · Bezos also has his own space company, called "Blue Origin" (Blue Origin), as well as Armadillo Aerospace, XCOR Aerospace Company, etc. Companies committed to commercial space travel are private companies entering the aerospace industry.

And Elon · Musk's SpaceX has been known by the Chinese people, and every move is concerned.

According to Space, on August 6th, US local time, SpaceX successfully completed the ninth rocket launch mission this year, using the Falcon 9 rocket to put an Israeli communications satellite AMOS-17 into orbit. Mask is one step closer to his plan to "immigrate Mars".

In recent years, global space exploration has entered a period of stability. However, in China, thanks to the state's policy liberalization of the private commercial aerospace sector, in the process of space exploration, in addition to the input at the national level, many private commercial aerospace enterprises have emerged in the market. Can the Chinese version of Space X be born in these companies?

Commercial aerospace

In the past, space launches were led by the government and invested. In 2014, the state encouraged private capital to develop, launch and operate commercial remote sensing satellites, providing market-oriented and specialized services. In 2015, support private capital to carry out value-added product development, operation services and industrialization promotion ……

China's aerospace industry private enterprises have sprung up, but different from the marketing of Elon & middot; Musk, Chinese companies are mostly more low-key.

Take the example of the thousand-day exploration. It was established in April 2017. It is the first private satellite R&D and application service provider in China. Its business scope covers the upstream and downstream of the industrial chain such as satellite product development, constellation operation and spatial data application service.


Miao Jianquan, the founder of the Millennium Exploration Institute, has been deeply cultivating in the system for many years. In 2008, he obtained a master's degree from Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics. After graduation, he joined the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation and worked as the overall technical person in charge of aerospace model. The launch site of the aerospace model 01 commander successfully completed the first flight mission.

Satellites are inextricably linked to people's daily lives. Whether it's the navigation, positioning or maps we use, all rely on satellite transmission signals. The convenience brought by satellites will undoubtedly continue to increase in the future.

In mid-August, Miao Jianquan went to the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Fund, which appeared in the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center more than two years after he left the system, but this time his identity is an entrepreneur. After 14 months, I finally have to launch the first satellite.

So, "making stars" is not an accident, which has a lot to do with the company's accumulation of a large number of aerospace talents.

The Thousand-Riding Exploration Team has one expert who enjoys the special allowance of the State Council. The technical team has served as the national aerospace core research unit, and has participated in the development and launch missions of high-scoring satellites, Fengyun satellites, Beidou satellites and major national projects in China. Aerospace engineering experience for 9 years, with an average age of around 35 years.

In fact, domestic commercial aerospace started in 2015, and it has been four years since then. The number of market participants has gradually increased. Commercial aerospace includes three major fields: commercial launch, commercial satellite and commercial measurement and control. The satellite is the entry point.

At present, the domestic commercial satellites are mostly cubic stars, which have low cost and short life in orbit. The thousand-day exploration focuses on the business star field of 100 kilograms. It is positioned as a private satellite R&D and application service provider. It is a converged application service for satellite multi-source remote sensing data and communication data.

Miao Jianquan said in an interview with the media that, such as visible light remote sensing satellites, spectral remote sensing satellites, infrared remote sensing satellites … … different functions, different development cycles, the accuracy of price estimates is more difficult, probably a satellite cost In the tens of millions of dollars, of course, you can also do millions and more than 10 million satellites, but the data quality is not good.

In addition, the important price barriers involved in the commercial satellite promotion market are —— research and development fees, manufacturing fees, rocket launch fees, satellite monitoring and control fees. “If the manufacturing cost cannot be lowered, but the system solution is cheaper, you can also control it slightly. & rdquo; Miao Jianquan explained.

The launch vehicle is a truck in space

In general, private enterprises launch satellites in three steps: first, satellite design and manufacturing; second, signing launch agreements, coordinating satellite launch sites, and handling satellite launch procedures, including applications for radio bands and satellite orbit reports; Third, after the satellite is launched, the ground monitoring and control station will be established or leased for satellite operation and management.


In fact, private enterprises have emerged at every node of the entire aerospace industry chain.

For Blue Arrow Aerospace, the leader of China's private space, it is to develop a more economical, faster and more stable launch vehicle. As a means of transport into space, the rocket's main service target is satellite, its mission is to send the satellite into a predetermined orbit.

A launch vehicle is like a truck that travels through space, and a satellite is like a cargo. It takes a lot of thrust to send these satellites into space. To achieve higher loads and higher orbit launches, it is necessary to use a more difficult liquid rocket engine.

On October 27, 2018, at 3 pm on the same day, the Blue Arrow's three-stage carrier rocket "Suzaku No. 1" completed the first flight at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. After the rocket was launched, the flight was normal, the first and second stages were working normally, and the fairing was separated. Normal, the third level is abnormal.

After the blue arrow CEO Zhang Changwu announced the news to the media present, the public could not accept the result. The Blue Arrow official also said: "In the future, the Blue Arrow Space will continue to move forward, and the road will be long and far-reaching. We will still go to the heart of the sea." ”

Established in June 2015, Blue Arrow Aerospace is the only privately-owned enterprise in China that has the research and development capabilities of liquid fuel launch vehicles. It focuses on small and medium-sized commercial aerospace applications, mainly developing liquid oxygen methane aerospace engines and liquid oxygen methane rockets. Blue Arrow Aerospace has two R&D centers in Beijing and Xi'an.

A year later, the public’s confidence in China’s private rockets was once again invigorated.

At 13:00 on July 25th, the hyperbolic curve of StarCraft Glory No.1 was launched successfully in Jiuquan, and the satellites and payloads were accurately delivered to the scheduled 300-kilometer orbit according to the flight schedule. Rocket zero breakthrough.

StarCraft Glory was established in October 2016 and officially launched in August 2017. It mainly provides launch vehicle development and launch service solutions, and plans to serve the commercial launch markets of microsatellite manufacturers, operators, scientific research institutions and universities at home and abroad.

StarCraft Glory is currently developing a liquid oxygen methane rocket, which is the research and development direction of the well-known foreign private rocket company SpaceX and Blue Origine. It is also one of the inevitable paths to reduce the rocket manufacturing cost through repeated use of the rocket.

In addition to Blue Sword Aerospace, similar rocket private enterprises also include interstellar glory and zero space; in the aspect of measurement and control services, in 2018, aerospace comets, Tianlian chain control and other enterprises also completed financing.

China's commercial space has experienced rapid growth in the past three years from 2016 to the present.

By the end of 2018, there were nearly 200 commercial aerospace companies registered in China, and nearly 30% of the companies established in the past three years. In 2017, a total of 13 commercial aerospace companies in China received a total of 2.16 billion yuan in financing.

In 2018, China's commercial aerospace sector completed at least 36 financings, with financing amounting to nearly RMB 3.6 billion, an increase of 67% over the previous year.

Commercial aviation outbreak

Although the growth is rapid, in terms of volume and development time, China's commercial space is still in the embryonic stage of industry development — the status quo can be analogized to the Internet in the 1990s, or the mobile Internet around 2010, are in the The upstream infrastructure is perfect, and the eve of the downstream application outbreak.

At present, in the commercial aerospace field, the United Kingdom and the United States are at the forefront due to their early layout, mature technology and sufficient funds. Their commercialization experience has also pointed out the direction for domestic private aerospace companies, and whether domestic private aviation can use its own advantages to achieve cornering overtaking like Chinese Internet companies still needs time verification.


However, the current glory of British and American private aviation is not a one-time success, but also experienced a long development cycle.

Take the development of Elon Musk and his SpaceX as an example. Before the success, he experienced many failures. Before 2008, the company had been on the verge of bankruptcy. He said that he was “sweet the glass and stare into the abyss”.

Mask In June 2002, SpaceX was founded. He announced that he would build a rocket with one-tenth of the Universal Rocket.

SpaceX announced on the website that SpaceX intends to independently engage in all development work of the ’Falcon & rsquo; rocket, including two rocket propellers, turbo pumps, cryogenic tank structures and guidance systems … … We have no choice but to cost the space. ”

In the second half of 2002, Musk’s press conference in Washington was a success. Although SpaceX has not been fired yet, it is already planning the next rocket. They will be making "Falcon No. 5" while manufacturing "Falcon No. 1".

The first launch of SpaceX was on March 24, 2006, four years after the conference was held. & ldquo; Falcon 1 & rdquo; rushed to the clouds. After about 25 seconds, "grey back" was on fire above the engine and finally lost control and fell to the ground. & ldquo; Falcon 1 & rdquo; directly fell to the launch site.

A year later, SpaceX is ready to launch the rocket again. On March 15, 2007, the test was successful. On March 21st, “Falcon No. 1” finally took off. But after 5 minutes, the device went out of control, disintegrated, and finally exploded. The third launch still failed.

SpaceX's fourth launch on the afternoon of September 28, 2008, the SpaceX team pushed the "Falcon 1" to the launch pad. The fairing opens and falls back to the ground about 3 minutes after launch. After 9 minutes, the Falcon 1 stops working as planned, and the world's first privately built rocket enters the orbit.

500 people spent 6 years —— more than four and a half years before Musk's original plan, finally created this modern science and business miracle.

In 2009, “Falcon No. 1” successfully sent the miniature remote sensing satellite “LazakSAT” into space.

For this news, Space Exploration Technologies' website was reported at the time: “Falcon 1 & rsquo; Falcon 1 & rsquo; The launch vehicle consists of two sections, fueled by liquid oxygen and rocket-grade kerosene RP-1, completely explored by space. The technology company designs and produces it independently.

SpaceX has been successful. His success, on the one hand, was to win talents, on the other hand, he received orders from the government. In 2014, SpaceX received an order for NASA of up to 2.6 billion US dollars.

In the matter of exploring the universe, Musk is by no means alone. Amazon founder Jeff · Bezos also has his own space company, called "Blue Origin", and Armadillo Aerospace, XCOR Aerospace Company and other companies dedicated to commercial space travel.

Therefore, the Chinese version of Space X was born, and it is also a time and opportunity selection process for many entrepreneurs in the field of private aerospace in China. It is a long way to go.

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