by Blaine Curcio and Jean Deville
As a part of the partnership between SpaceWatch.International and Orbital Gateway Consulting now we have been granted permission to publish chosen articles and texts. We’re happy to current “Dongfang Hour China Aerospace Information Roundup 1 – 7 March 2021”.
Hi there and welcome to a different episode of the Dongfang Hour China Aero/House Information Roundup! A particular shout-out to our buddies at GoTaikonauts!, and at SpaceWatch.International, each glorious sources of area trade information. Specifically, we advise testing GoTaikonauts! long-form China reporting, in addition to the House Cafe collection from SpaceWatch.International. With out additional ado, the information replace from the week of 1 – 7 March 2021.
1) Qiansheng Exploration (QS-T) Proclaims >RMB 100M Sequence A Spherical
Chinese language satellite tv for pc producer Qiansheng Exploration announced a Series A funding round of greater than RMB 100 million on Friday 5 March, with the funding anticipated to go in direction of strengthening the corporate’s satellite tv for pc manufacturing and geospatial data companies capabilities. The spherical was led by the Fuzhou (Jiangxi) Excessive-Tech Rising Trade Growth Fund, which is outwardly part of the Fuzhou Nationwide Excessive-Tech Industrial Zone. The spherical of funding is noteworthy for a number of causes:
Qiansheng Exploration had beforehand had fairly shut relations with the Zhongguancun space of Beijing. Whereas we don’t essentially have cause to consider this has modified, the funding spherical being led by Fuzhou seemingly implies that Qiansheng will relocate some exercise to the town as a type of financial growth.
Additionally noteworthy is the town of Fuzhou. To be trustworthy, my authentic thought was “Ah, Fuzhou, the capital of Fujian Province”, which appeared like a barely random metropolis given the dearth of area trade, and the truth that it’s a fairly average-sized metropolis in China. Seems, I used to be unsuitable, it was not Fuzhou, capital of Fujian, however relatively Fuzhou, Jiangxi (抚州，as in comparison with 福州, Fujian).
Fuzhou, Jiangxi is a metropolis that I’ve by no means heard of (and with out desirous to brag, being a geography nut who has lived in Higher China for nearly a decade, I’ve heard of numerous Chinese language cities), and a metropolis which, according to Wikipedia, is dwelling to such industries as meals processing, textiles, meals (implicitly agriculture provided that it’s talked about separate from meals processing), and lightweight autos. In brief, Fuzhou, Jiangxi, might be not the primary place one would consider when selecting a spot to construct satellites. That being mentioned, my suspicion is that QS-T didn’t a lot select Fuzhou, as Fuzhou selected them. That’s, I consider the “higher” potential cities/provinces for satellite tv for pc manufacturing have partnered with business satellite tv for pc producers already, and ones which are extra superior than QS-T. For instance, Nantong (Jiangsu) introduced in Galaxy House. Commsat went to Yibin (Sichuan) and Tangshan (Hebei). Beijing Good Satellite tv for pc went to Tongchuan (Shanxi, close to to Xi’an). Mainly, all of those satellite tv for pc producers which have superior considerably extra rapidly than QS-T have managed to pair up with cities which are relatively wealthier, extra developed, or each. This isn’t to say that the QS-T/Fuzhou tie-up is certain for failure, nevertheless it appears protected to say that the synergies are considerably restricted.
Qiansheng Exploration is an efficient instance of a verticalized EO firm. They’re constructing their very own constellation (Qiansheng-1, Qiansheng-2, and even Qiansheng-3 in some interviews), designing and manufacturing the satellites, increase their community of floor stations, whereas on the identical time growing the cloud infrastructure, the analytics instruments, and offering transportable terminals to their clients.
Based on the slides proven at CCAF2020, they’ve a fairly packed launch calendar within the coming years, which might undoubtedly want sturdy monetary backing. This A-round of funding is smart, their earlier rounds having all been fairly some time in the past (angel in January 2018, Pre-A in March 2018, Pre-A1 in in Sept 2018). Their first satellite tv for pc, the Qiansheng-1, was launched on Jielong-1 in August 2019.
And talking of Jielong…
2) Jielong-Three to make its maiden launch in 2022
CALT’s business subsidiary China Rocket announced on March 3rd that the Jielong-3 small elevate solid-fueled launch car would make its maiden launch in 2022. Jielong-Three is the third and heaviest rocket of the Jielong rocket collection, placing 1.5 tons into LEO. The opposite two are two lighter elevate launch autos able to placing 200 kg and 500 kg into LEO, with Jielong-1 having succeeded its first orbital launch in August 2019.
(AFAIK) the Jielong 2, Three rockets have been introduced at a China Rocket event in October 2019; again within the days the corporate had already set a foot within the realm of small elevate business launch autos with the Jielong-1, and the follow-up Jielong collection confirmed CALT/China Rocket’s ambition to consolidate its presence in launch and compete with the likes of Expace in addition to different business launch corporations. The payload capacities certainly compete immediately with numerous the business launch corporations mentioned in earlier episodes (see desk).
Throughout the identical occasion in 2019, the Tenglong medium elevate liquid-fueled collection have been additionally introduced by China Rocket, in a sample that resembles numerous the business launch corporations (see our earlier DFH Episode on Chinese language Industrial Launch).
An attention-grabbing level on the announcement right now is that it considerations the Jielong-3, however nothing was talked about for the Jielong-2. This can be contradicting China Rocket’s calendar, which deliberate on launching sequentially JD1, JD2 and JD3 (initially deliberate for 2019, 2020 and 2021). Has China Rocket thought of that the JD2’s market was too restricted and moved on to JD3? Arduous to say, however this might undoubtedly be a risk. This additionally suits with Landspace CMO Kevin Xu’s description of small elevate solid-fueled rockets turning into exceedingly crowded (leading to Landspace placing apart the ZQ1).
Certainly, the announcement by China Rocket must be dangerous information for any business firm hoping to deal with the small/medium elevate solid-fuelled rocket market in China.
To provide a little bit of context: China Rocket is a business subsidiary of CALT, the primary launch subsidiary of CASC. On this means, China Rocket is similar to Expace, insofar as each corporations are business subsidiaries of main SOEs (China Rocket of CASC, Expace of CASIC). Expace has seen appreciable success over the previous a number of years within the growth of its KZ-1A fast-response rocket, and the corporate has proven an attention-grabbing mix of conventional area trade expertise chops (largely inherited from CASIC) and business area aptitude. Living proof is the oft-mentioned reside on-line public sale of a KZ-1A rocket in early 2020.
By having a business launch subsidiary, CALT clearly has hoped to achieve some better flexibility (China Rocket is probably going extra nimble than CALT in sure methods), whereas additionally heading off a possible rival in Expace, with this now extending from the Jielong-1 (roughly much like KZ-1A) to the Jielong-3, which has very comparable specs to Expace’s Kuaizhou-11 small/medium-lift rocket, which suffered a launch failure in its inaugural launch in July 2020.
A query I believe value asking in regard to the expanded efforts of China Rocket and the Jielong-Three is–is that this actually value it for CASC/CALT? Do they really want to develop a number of “business” solid-fueled rockets to compete with any and all potential CASIC/business rockets? It’s exhausting to say, however I believe the emphasis on business rocketry by CASC is an instance of an inclination of Chinese language SOEs–the tendency to regardless of any and all competitors of any form, and attempt to stomp out any and all aggressive threats, regardless of how small.
Give it some thought–CASC has, over the previous a number of years, constructed and launched a world satnav constellation (BeiDou-3), made developments on Excessive Throughput GEO satellites, launched a number of EO constellations, and ohbytheway, additionally had a number of Moon missions, Chinese language area station, and so forth. One would possibly moderately ask, due to this fact, is yet one more small/medium solid-fueled rocket that has restricted relevance to any of the above megaprojects actually the perfect use of CASC’s restricted assets? Wouldn’t it actually be the top of the world to let CASIC develop a small/medium stable rocket with out a China Rocket competitor? Granted, what do I do know, I’m not the one making an attempt to compete with the large monetary heft of CASIC, however from my perspective this looks like an instance of the Chinese language system producing a suboptimal final result. China doesn’t want any extra small/medium stable rockets, and CASC has an enormous quantity on their plate already.
3) An attention-grabbing piece by the Beijing Every day on Beijing’s business area ecosystem
The Beijing Daily published an interesting article on March 1st on the capital’s business area ecosystem. Whereas there weren’t really bulletins, it mentioned all kinds of matters, and it is a nice excuse to speak just a little bit about Beijing in area.
First level value mentioning, Beijing has confirmed to be the simple capital of Chinese language business area from all standpoints, starting from the place of incorporation of startups all the best way to area investments. That is to a big extent mentioned in earlier area stories (Future House funding report, Euroconsult China House report, STPI report, ESPI NewSpace report…)
Maybe extra apparently, the article mentioned how Beijing appears to have an attention-grabbing geographic divide between the North (attracting satellite tv for pc manufacturing startups) and the South (centered on rockets). This has given the capital the nickname in Chinese language of “南箭北星”, as we could have talked about in earlier episodes. And apparently, in accordance with the Beijing Every day article, that is really as a consequence of the truth that CALT has a powerful presence within the south and with who Chinese language startups collaborate with; and equally within the Northern suburbs is CAST amenities, of great curiosity for satellite tv for pc manufacturing corporations.
One other noteworthy level of the article is the assist that the Beijing municipal authorities supplies its business area ecosystem, and this may be generalized to many different provincial capitals (–> see ESPI’s NewSpace in Asia report). This may be by way of infrastructure/amenities, with science & tech parks placing preferential insurance policies for tech heavy corporations ( instance in Beijing is Zhongguancun). The article additionally mentions “constructing business aerospace trade bases” in Beijing’s most southern district Daxing.Final however not least, the assist can also be monetary. The article mentions using municipal degree trade funds to assist business area corporations, and monetary mechanisms to restrict insurance coverage premiums for launch.
Beijing is certainly China’s largest area metropolis by far. The 南箭北星 is all too true–I recall my final time to Beijing (almost 1.5 years in the past…) visiting Landspace within the south of the town. Apparently, Panorama was renting workplace area (probably at sponsored pricing) from none aside from AVIC, with Landspace having its personal fairly large constructing in an enormous “AVIC Plaza” actual property growth. Throughout the identical journey, I went to go to Commsat within the north of the town, and located they have been situated in a type of “CAS Navy-Civil Fusion Industrial Park”, once more probably paying sponsored hire.
It’s actually a commentary on the range and dimension of Beijing’s area ecosystem to have such a coverage as “we construct rockets within the south, we construct satellites within the north”. For individuals who haven’t been, Beijing is mind-bogglingly big, and so to a sure extent, it’s comprehensible that the town authorities would wish to promote a point of clustering of sure industries, in order to keep away from a number of hour journeys to go to associated corporations. That is one thing to which I can attest all too effectively–on a number of journeys to BJ with shoppers in 2018, we’d be spending 2-Three hours per day within the automobile between conferences, and that was even with my having scheduled the conferences in a geographically handy order! Total, large area trade in Beijing, lot of stuff happening, and numerous totally different shifting items. Bloody hell do I miss the Northern Capital.
This has been one other episode of the Dongfang Hour China Aero/House Information Roundup. In case you’ve made it this far, we thanks to your form consideration, and look ahead to seeing you subsequent time! Till then, don’t neglect to comply with us on YouTube, Twitter, or LinkedIn, or your native podcast supply.
Blaine Curcio has spent the previous 10 years on the intersection of China and the area sector. Blaine has spent many of the previous decade in China, together with Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and Beijing, working as a advisor and analyst protecting the area/satcom sector for corporations together with Euroconsult and Orbital Gateway Consulting. When not speaking about China area, Blaine might be discovered studying about economics/finance, exploring cities, and taking photographs.
Jean Deville is a graduate from ISAE, the place he studied aerospace engineering and specialised in fluid dynamics. A protracted-time aerospace fanatic and China watcher, Jean was beforehand primarily based in Toulouse and Shenzhen, and is at the moment working within the aviation trade between Paris and Shanghai. He additionally writes regularly within the China Aerospace Blog. Hobbies embody climbing, astrophotography, aircraft recognizing, in addition to a gentle spot for Hakka meals and (some) Ningxia wines.