A private Chinese space company just scored a foreign contract for the first time

The agreement was signed with a Danish nanosatellite maker.

Landspace China rocket private space launch

Rocket on a Truck

This Landspace 1 rocket can be carried on a truck for effective transportation, in order to move the launcher to precisely position nano-satellites in specific orbits.Xinhua News Agency

A Chinese space launch company, Landspace, has won the first Chinese private space launch contract from a foreign company.

Gomspace Gomx-3 nanosatellite

GOMX-3

GOMX-3 is a collaboration between Gomspace and ESA. It's intended to test nano-sat technologies such as attitude control, RF sensing, and high-speed data downlink. It flew in 2016.Gomspace

Founded by Tsinghua University, a prestigious Chinese university, Landspace is one of China's first private space launch companies. Gomspace is a Danish satellite builder, spun off from the Alborg University's nano-satellite research program. The pair's partnership is starting small, literally, with a nanosatellite project.

Landspace Technology China Space Private

From Land to Space

Landspace hopes to prime its liquid rocket engine technology to fly unmanned, and then manned missions. They also offer a whole service package of insurance, IT support, and mission control elements.Landspace Technologies

In addition to providing parts for nanosatellites, Gomspace has a line of nanosatellites such as the GOMX, which weighs roughly around 6.5 pounds and is geared toward Earth observation and communications. Landspace plans to deploy via both liquid and solid fueled rockets. Landspace's business model calls for starting with nano-satellite launches, and then moving to larger cargoes, and eventually into manned spaceflight—they even have a concept for a truck mobile space launch rocket.

Kuaizhou 1 China Expace space Launch

KZ-1

Kuaizhou, the smaller of the Expace rockets, can carry 440 pounds to sun synchronous orbit, making it ideal for launching clusters of microsatellites like cubesats.xyz at China Defense Forum

Details of the contract say that the launch will take place near the equator (possibly in Hainan Island or Yunnan Province) in 2018. Given Gomspace's ties to European Space Agency projects, including a space debris removal system, the Landspace-Gomspace contract is potentially the beginning of a new chapter in Sino-European space cooperation, and a big first for private Chinese space launch companies.

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