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In five years, can we really wait for China's space X?

via:CnBeta     time:2020/11/2 10:21:50     readed:911

"Only one of the three orbital attempts made by private space companies has been successful." Xia dongkun, the co-founder of Xinghe power, said in an interview with sina science and technology that even if it succeeds this time, the rocket has not yet entered the stage of mass production.On November 5, Star River power will carry out the fourth orbital attempt of private space companies. China's space industry is still in its first five years. In June 2015, blue arrow aerospace was established, opening the prelude of China's private aerospace.


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Hua Zijian of Sina Technology

Zhang Changwu, the founder of space, once made a big statement after space X and NASA sent the Dragon spacecraft into space in may2020. "In the past three years, our country has provided a strong guarantee for the green light of private launch vehicles all the way; this makes us have reason to believe that China can also create a corresponding space in the next five years Companies that X and blue source originated even surpassed their private companies in the field of liquid oxygen methane, whether it was blue arrow or not. "

However, there is still a long way to go for China's private aerospace industry in its infancy. "We are still very anxious to wait for when China's private aerospace enterprises can come up with a highly reliable and low-cost solution." Yang Feng, founder and CEO of Tianyi Research Institute, said in an interview with Sina Technology.

"Money" and difficulties

Wang Jianfei, CEO of Beihang investment, said in an interview with sina science and technology that commercial aerospace is an entrepreneurial category with a high threshold. Unlike a person who has an idea and has a new business model, he can start a business. Not everyone can build a rocket. For aerospace entrepreneurs, they must have a long scientific research background, and even have to do rocket system engineering before they can do this, so as not to take a detour.

"But unlike aeroengines or photolithography machines, rockets cannot be made by a single entrepreneurial team. Rocket has a very high threshold, but it is not an invincible threshold. As long as we gather together the experts of various professions, such as those who are engaged in power, interface, structure, control and communication, we can accomplish this task. " Wang Jianfei said.

In addition to the organic combination of relevant talents, policy and market demand also promote the development of private aerospace. Around 2015, the state has issued a number of relevant documents to encourage private enterprises to enter the aerospace field, breaking the originally relatively closed environment. Market demand is also growing rapidly.

Liu Baiqi, CEO of Xinghe power, said that the development prospect of private Aerospace came from market demand. According to the official website statistics of China commercial satellite constellation plan, there is a cumulative launch demand of 178 tons. If the average implementation period is 7 years, the annual transport capacity demand is about 25 tons.

As of February 2020, the space science and Technology Group's official website disclosed that the carrying capacity of the long march rocket in 2021 was only about 5 tons. According to the preliminary calculation, there will be a capacity gap of 20 tons in 2021, and this part of demand will be reserved for new commercial launch forces such as blue arrow aerospace, zero one space and Star River power.

Zhang Changwu disclosed that as early as 2014, they found that the global satellite launch market had a very clear demand for low earth orbit satellite launch. He described this market as "like a barrier lake. By 2020, there will be about 6000 satellites seeking to launch."

But in front of the broad market, private Aerospace still has a long way to go. The problems are mainly concentrated in two aspects: the first is the success rate of rocket launching and entering orbit; the second is mass production.

On October 27, 2018, the "zhuque-1" three-stage solid carrier rocket developed by blue arrow aerospace was launched at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, and people from all walks of life have high hopes for China's first private space launch vehicle into orbit. However, after the successful separation of the first and second stages and the second and third stages of the rocket, the third stage was abnormal after the successful separation of the fairing, and the customized micro satellite "future" was not put into orbit.

As Xia dongkun said, if Xinghe power's rocket is successfully launched into orbit, it will become the second successful attempt of all four private Aerospace missions, and the overall success rate of the industry will reach 50%. "But it's not just a successful rocket launch. Even if our rocket launch is successful, it can't prove that we have solved all the production problems. Because the efforts to be made in mass production may be higher than the efforts to develop products. " Mr Xia said.

This means that after the first successful launch of the rocket, it will take a long process to reach the stage of large-scale mass production, and the goal of "high reliability and low cost" can be achieved only after the stability and reliability can be guaranteed.

The influx of investors and China's "space X"

On April 20, 2020, at the regular online news conference of the national development and Reform Commission, it was clear that information infrastructure was included in the "new infrastructure", and satellite internet became one of the representatives of communication network infrastructure.

And long before the policy, investors have begun to layout; after the policy, investors are even more popular, a large influx. Yilong Musk and his Space X,, especially on the other side of the ocean, each launch test has attracted worldwide attention and attracted them to the "Space X"" of China.

The two sessions will be held in 2019 and 2020,milletLei Jun, the founder and chairman of the group, has submitted proposals for private Aerospace twice in a row, and called for bringing the development of Satellite Internet into China's "14th five year plan" development plan. In addition to the proposal, Lei Jun and his Shunwei capital have already deployed in this field. Star glory, Galaxy aerospace and deep blue Aerospace have all received investment from Shunwei capital.

In August 2020, Star glory announced the completion of nearly 1.2 billion yuan B round of financing, which set a single round of financing in the domestic private space industry; a month later, Blue Arrow Aerospace announced the completion of 1.2 billion yuan C round of financing. Tianbing Technology also announced the completion of hundreds of millions of yuan A round of financing.

"In the long run, China needs its own space X." Li Zhu, founding partner of inno angel fund, said in an interview with sina technology that the demand for communication, remote sensing and navigation is increasing. He believes that space X has gained support from the national level and is developing rapidly. China's private aerospace industry must closely cooperate with the national strategy in order to become stronger and bigger.

Wang Jianfei also said that in terms of China's aerospace industry development and future international competition, China needs to have its own space X. "At present, the space industry is still dominated by the national team, but with the passage of time, private enterprises will gradually become the leading force, which is also the demand of the market." Wang Jianfei said that for China's private rocket enterprises, it really needs to be like space X, which can enhance national pride.

At the same time, private enterprises have a stronger demand for the efficiency of market resources utilization and cost reduction, so as to revitalize the relatively closed space market. In addition, China must have an enterprise that can compete with space X in its core technology, so as to ensure that it will not be left behind, which is also the need of international competition in the future.

Both Wang Jianfei and Xia dongkun believe that the influx of capital is a good thing for the industry, which solves the industry's demand for capital. However, Wang Jianfei believes that the industry needs different capital at different stages. In the early stage, venture capital is more helpful to aerospace start-ups. In addition to capital, they can also bring business management experience to these technical talents.

With the development of the industry, the private space society needs more industrial capital, such as the national guidance fund, the civil military integration industry fund, and the guidance fund of the local government, etc., to bring support from the supply chain, infrastructure resources and system resources besides the funds.

"The investors who come in don't have much understanding of the industry, but at least we are enthusiastic." Yang Feng told Sina technology that this is the double progress of the industry and investors. At the beginning, investors did not understand and believe in this industry. Now it has become very enthusiastic, but just do not understand. "I hope the heat continues."

It will take 3-5 years for the industry to come out

The whole industry, including private satellite companies, is more and more urgent to wait for private rockets. "We haven't seen cheap and reliable private rockets yet. China's private rockets still need a little time, and we are in a hurry." Yang Feng said that the future demand will be very strong, but the success rate of many private space companies in China is not particularly high.

"It will take another three to five years, and the private space industry will perform better." Xia dongkun told sina science and technology that private aerospace is a typical "three high and one long" industry, namely "high risk, high investment, high return" and "long cycle".

Wang Jianfei told sina science and technology that, unlike Internet enterprises, technology enterprises related to system integration must step by step. For example, rockets need to be produced one by one, and then connected. Even if an enterprise raises 10 billion yuan, it still takes 10 months to build a rocket, which also means that the return cycle will become particularly long.

This is also related to the development law of the investment industry. From the Internet to the mobile Internet era, it belongs to the era of business model and application innovation. Relying on demographic dividend, a good idea can gain a large number of users through model innovation. However, technological innovation needs a long time of investment in capital and human resources, in order to obtain returns, it may also become a draw from scratch. "But the core competitiveness of the country in the future lies in scientific and technological innovation projects." Wang Jianfei said, "if an enterprise grows up, it will last at least 10 years."

After the first five years, private Aerospace needs another five years. Xia dongkun believes that the private aerospace industry should rely on the high investment in the early stage and go through the verification period in a small step. The R & D should be from small to large and then difficult, otherwise it will be difficult to survive. "In order to reduce the risk in the development process, the risk of research and development, and the risk of dependence on funds, the private aerospace industry should realize self blood production as soon as possible." Xia dongkun said.

Yang Feng believes that China's private aerospace industry has already had good conditions in terms of public opinion and funds. What is most lacking is more in-depth participation in the development of China's aerospace industry and getting more mainstream tasks, so as to achieve faster development.

Capital inflow and policy support. After the first five years, can we see China's space X in the next five years?

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