In 2012, China’s President Xi Jinping highlighted his ambitions for China to become a space superpower. Two years later, Beijing formally allowed the establishment of privately owned space companies; OneSpace Technologies (Hall 1 Stand 1094) was set up in 2015 in response to this call and is looking to establish its niche in the small-satellite-launcher market.
The company became the first privately owned firm in China to launch a rocket into suborbital trajectory on May 17 with its OS-X. The 30-foot rocket flew for 273.5 km (170 miles) to an altitude of 38 km (23.6 miles) before falling back to Earth.
Meanwhile, the company is developing a larger in-orbital OS-M rocket that is slated for its maiden launch by year-end, and already has secured a payload.
Three variants of the OS-M are planned: OS-M1, -M2, and -M4, each with differing load and launch performance. The most powerful, OS-M4, can deliver a 446-kg (983-pound) payload into a Sun-synchronous orbit of 800 km (almost 500 miles), or 588 kg (1,296 pounds) into low-Earth orbit. The OS-X will still be produced for smaller payloads.
“We are already in touch with many overseas companies to discuss potential cooperation. And we are expecting to produce more than 30 OS-M series rockets and more than 20 OS-X rockets in 2020,” the company told AIN.
Unlike more established players such as America’s SpaceX or even India’s Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) that also provide commercial space launch services, OneSpace hopes to differentiate itself by focusing on smaller, high-frequency carrier rockets for small and nano-satellites at cost-effective and competitive price-point.
“We hope that we can become one of the biggest small-satellite launchers in the world,” the spokesperson added.
The development of modern technology is spurring the rise of small “CubeSats,” which now pack in more capabilities and are smaller and less expensive to produce than conventional satellites. A CubeSat costs approximately $40,000 to produce. These CubeSats are used from ground observation to deep space exploration. China is expected to produce 1,000 CubeSats over the next five years, and OneSpace is hoping to ride on this demand.
OneSpace is coming to Farnborough with clear objectives. It is hoping to gain a better understanding of the overseas market and industry trends, as well as to promote the company and products to potential customers and cooperate with global partners.
“We also hope to learn from world-leading companies and to inspire the next generation, attracting more youth to involve in the space industry,” said the spokesperson.