(China Great Wall Industry Corporation, a CASC subsidiary) signed launch contracts with seemingly everyone this week in Zhuhai, including with Galaxy Space
, and ADASpace
. All launches are to be conducted in 2022. In the case of Galaxy Space
, the six satellites, to be launched on a Long March-2C, are LEO broadband test satellites. For MinoSpace
, the 2022 launch will be of 7x EO satellites ranging from a 0.5m optical satellite, 1m SAR satellite, and more satellites from the Hainan-1 constellation, on a Long March-8. The move solidifies MinoSpace’s role as an EO satellite manufacturer. Regarding ADASpace
, the deal offered limited details, except that the company will be launching a “next generation AI satellite” on a LM-8 in early 2022. Lastly, GeeSpace
has signed a contract with CGWIC for multiple Long March rocket launch services. In the article posted on Geespace’s WeChat account
, it is mentioned that the launch contract will enable the deployment of the company’s GNSS enhancing + broadband constellation. It seems that CASC really hit the jackpot this week, with an article from the Air Show
indicating that CASC signed RMB 3.8B in launch + commercial space contracts on 29 September.
Beyond contracts, we also saw some engines-related updates
. A new engine was displayed in the CASC exhibition
area: the YF-102 engine
. Apparently this is a 85t thrust-class kerolox engine is in the final stages of testing, with 6 fully assembled engines having already performed test fires, including some that have lasted up to 200s. The engine could be operational by 2022, and the company is also talking about a reusable version of the engine, the YF-102R, that would be ready by 2026. Lastly, Xiao Yun, the chief designer of the Long March 8, revealed in an interview
that CALT was considering setting a dedicated launchpad for the Long March 8 at the Wenchang Launch Center, and even went as far as saying that if two such LM8 launchpads could be set up, a LM8 rocket could be launched every 7 days – leading to 50 LM8 launches a year, which is more than China’s current total annual launches. If that is the case, the LM-8 could become the workhorse for constellation deployment, leaving little domestic market space for commercial companies developing medium-lift launch vehicles.
Hypersonic vehicle company Space Transportation
announced on Monday the successful 4th flight of its Tianxing-1 suborbital rocket
. This comes just weeks after the company’s 3rd test flight, which itself was a couple of years after the 2nd one. No further details available as of now, but either way, impressive accomplishment from Space Transportation, which can count under its belt 2x funding rounds and 2x successful launches of the Tianxing-1 during a very busy third quarter.
Lastly, this week saw the failed launch of Shiyan-10 on a Long March 3B
, representing the1st launch failure of CASC in 2021. After having successfully reached orbit, it was later declared that the experimental satellite was not operating normally and was hence a failure.