Chinese private space launch company Orienspace raised more than $100 million

One of China’s newest launch start-ups, Orienspace, has been raising serious amounts of money for its range of increasingly complex “Gravity” launch vehicles, making it one among some of the most well-backed Chinese launch startups despite its youth. It has become one of China’s top successful private space rocket launch system companies that has managed to stick out against the odds.

More about Orienspace and its success

The Chinese commercial space launch company, Gravity-1, was established in 2020 and revealed its existence last year after collecting initial finance of $65 million. Its designs for a series of rockets, medium-class orbital launch vehicles termed Gravity-1, were detailed (Yinli-1).

The company said last month in January that it had raised an additional $47 million shortly after November 2021, when it recruited 29-year-old Yao Song as Co-CEO, who was formerly the creator of Shenjian Technology.

Gravity 1, the company’s first rocket, is scheduled to launch in 2023. Gravity 1 combines a liquid propellant core stage with more straightforward solid propellant boosters. The rocket, which will be 102 feet long (31 metres), will be capable of sending 6,600 pounds (3,000 kilogrammes) into low Earth orbit, or LEO.

Gravity 2 and 3 launch vehicles will debut in 2024 and 2025, respectively, and will be capable of launching 33,000 pounds (15,000 kg) and 66,100 pounds (30,000 kg) to LEO. The latter will be a reusable rocket powered by kerosene and liquid oxygen, with the option of a three-core variant, similar to how SpaceX modified the Falcon 9 rocket into the Falcon Heavy.

Other Competitors for Orienspace

In 2014, China’s government made the decision to open up the country’s space sector to private finance. Since then, several private launch firms have emerged, and Orienspace, as a newcomer to the group, will face stiff competition from more established competitors. Among the companies in rivalry are Galactic Energy, LandSpace, LinkSpace, ExPace, i-Space, and other some Chinese solid rocket startups.

Even China’s Long March rockets, significant state-owned firms included as China Rocket, Expace, and CAS Space have launched their own rocket startups to compete for commercial contracts. The Long March rocket series has a well-established and long history of spaceflights and has seen a lot of success over the years.(More on China’s Long March rocket series here.)

Goals for the future for Orienspace

In an interview, Yao Song, CEO of Orienspace, stated that the company will investigate the prospects for space tourism. He also stressed the necessity of China actively participating in space activities and expressed his desire to see progress. Yao believes that space resources, such as satellites in orbit, should be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. If China does not become engaged now, US owned businesses like SpaceX will rule space, according to Yao.

The 70-person company has already begun building on a commercial launch vehicle assembly and integration test centre in Haiyang, Shandong Province. A new Chinese spaceport devoted to launching from the water has already opened in Haiyang, and a specifically constructed vehicle for sea launches is due to start operation later this year. Orienspace will use the Haiyang facilities as a launch pad and landing platform for its first stages.

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