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