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DFHour #32: Galactic Energy nails their 2nd launch, science lessons from the CSS and more

The Dongfang Hour
The Dongfang Hour
Your Weekly China Space Industry Summary, by Blaine Curcio and Jean Deville, and with editing by Orbital Gateway Consulting Analyst Aurélie Gillet.

What's up in Chinese Space this Week?
Welcome to the Dongfang Hour China Space Newsletter for 6-12 Dec 2021. Last week’s developments illustrate the depth of the Chinese commercial space sector. We analyse this idea in the present newsletter, along with the many updates in launch, manufacturing, China space program and more. You can also check out our weekly episode, where we interview Liu Hong, Galactic Energy’s systems engineer!
Highlight of the Week: depth of China’s commercial space sector
Last week, Galactic Energy became the first Chinese commercial space company to have 2 successful orbital launches - both with its Ceres-1 rocket, the latest having happened on December 7. As part of the launch, several satellites included high-tech components made by companies or other entities in Tianjin. “So what?” you may rightly ask. Galactic Energy was not among the first 10 commercial launch companies to be founded, and Tianjin is not one of the 10 most vibrant space industry clusters in China. In short, this week made it clear that there is impressive depth in the Chinese space sector, with the lesser-known companies and smaller geographic clusters playing an increasingly big role.
Regarding companies: there are many commercial space companies in China, and all of them, including ‘second generation’ ones such as Galactic Energy, are doing amazing things. Having been founded in 2018 (~3 years ago!), few would have predicted that Galactic Energy would have been the first commercial space company to have 2 successful orbital launches in China. Hence, when analysing the Chinese commercial space sector, beyond ‘first generation’ companies such as Landspace, iSpace, OneSpace, Linkspace and others, one should not forget the ones founded later on because they are also achieving great results at a very fast pace.
Regarding geographic clusters: there are many such clusters across China, and while the spotlight may be mainly on a few of them, many more are actually worth following very closely. In the case of Tianjin, its proximity to Beijing means that it often gets overlooked, yet the city has had a pretty strong traditional space sector for quite some years. This week saw participants from multiple non-CASC entities playing a big role in the Galactic Energy launch. Of the satellites launched this week, one of the satellites was co-developed by Tianjin University and CGSTL, and Tianjin Huaxin Technology Company developed the high-performance inertial measurement units on two of the Spacety satellites.
While Tianjin as a municipality is heavily indebted, it is nonetheless a large city with a large government with a large budget. This suggests that if they do want to prioritize space industry development, they will likely find the funds. Besides Tianjin, there are also many more developing space industry clusters to keep an eye on!
The Week in Launch
Last week saw the successful launch of the Ceres-1 small lift solid-fueled rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, by the Chinese launch startup Galactic Energy. The company had become the second commercial company ever in China to put a payload into orbit, in November 2020, the first being iSpace with the Hyperbola-1 rocket in July 2019. Since the 2nd and 3rd launches of the Hyperbola-1 have failed, Galactic Energy is hence the only commercial space company having achieved two successful orbital launches in a row, both with its Ceres-1 rocket. Despite having been founded in 2018, hence a few years after the first generation of Chinese commercial launch companies, Galactic Energy has been moving very fast and the recent developments confirm the reliability of its rockets.
In terms of payloads, there were two satellites manufactured by Spacety. The first was the Lize-1 (丽泽一号), a 6U cubesat with a payload coming from two commercial companies based in Beijing (Ruichen Satellite Innovation Application Institute and Insights Value), and aiming at “constellation deployment technology verification” (为后续星座组网、星座轨道部署,实现奠定技术基础). The second was called Baoyun (宝酝号), and is a ~20kg 12U technology verification satellite for the Tiansuan constellation. It was jointly developed by BUPT, Huawei Cloud, China Mobile and Peking University. If you want to know more about Galactic Energy, check out our DFH episode where we interviewed Liu Hong, the company’s systems engineer!
There are two other successful launches to report. First, China completed the 400th launch of the Long March rockets with the launch of the Shijian 6-05 group of satellites, on-board a Long March 4B. Wang Hanqing (王汉清), a veteran at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, reported in the article having witnessed the gradual increase of the frequency of launches, from once a year in the early years of the Chinese space sector, to dozens of times a year nowadays. Secondly, Space Transportation successfully completed the 5th launch of its Tianxing-1 rocket (Y-5B) on December 9.
In terms of developments in rocket manufacturing, three projects of rocket manufacturing bases have been launched in the China Oriental Spaceport at Haiyang (Shandong) last week. First, China’s 33rd commercial launch company (this may not be the actual number), oSpace, held the groundbreaking for their launch vehicle assembly, integration, and testing (AIT) center in Haiyang, Shandong Province. The company, also known as Orienspace or 东方空间, held a ceremony in partnership with the Haiyang Municipal People’s Government and the Haiyang Aerospace Industry Office. New Co-CEO Yao Song gave a speech about the company’s ambitions in Haiyang, for more info on the recently-named co-CEO, check out our DFHour from a few weeks ago. The center will be used to conduct final AIT work on the company’s Gravity-1 satellite. The center will be brought into service in 2022 with eventual production of 20 medium-large scale rockets.
Besides oSpace, Galactic Energy also inaugurated its project to build a solid-fueled rocket R&D and manufacturing base for sea launch, and the last project is a rocket tank industrial base for Jiutian Xingge. Haiyang seems determined to make the best out of its advantageous position to further develop its space industrial chain. Another relatively low-key space cluster to watch.
oSpace's project of launch vehicle assembly, integration, and testing (AIT) center in Haiyang
oSpace's project of launch vehicle assembly, integration, and testing (AIT) center in Haiyang
The Week in China’s Space Program
China performed for the second time in history a live broadcast from the space station of a series of science lessons, which was targeted mostly at elementary school students. Interestingly, the first time this was ever performed was 8 years ago, also by Wang Yaping, during her first stay in space in 2013 aboard the Tiangong-1 experimental space station. There were gatherings in Nanning (Guangxi), Wenchuan (Sichuan), Beijing, Hong-Kong, and Macau, where students could directly ask questions to the taikonauts. 
There were major video quality improvements compared to the 2013 science lessons due to the presence of high definition cameras, high performance wireless networks on board, and with the Tianlian GEO relay satellite constellation’s strong downlink speeds.
Live broadcast of a series of science lesson from the Chinese space station
Live broadcast of a series of science lesson from the Chinese space station
The Week in Satellite Manufacturing + operation
​​Galaxy Space co-founder Gao Qianfeng gave a speech at the Qingdao Innovation Festival, which included the announcement of Galaxy Space’s first independently developed flexible solar array. The company is developing the solar array for small satellites, implicitly constellations. This is but the latest example of a systems-level satellite manufacturer choosing specific subsystems in which to make technological progress. 
Chinese LEO satellite operator Guodian Gaoke set up shop in an industrial park in the Guzhenkou area of Qingdao, in Shandong Province. The new site is meant to complement Guodian Gaoke’s existing Beijing operations center, with the site in Guzhenkou expected to focus on developing applications related to maritime and logistics (two major components of the economy of Shandong Province). We note that this is but the latest example of a Chinese commercial space company setting up in Shandong, following increasing activity at an up-and-coming launch site in Haiyang, and various provincial government support for the sector.
The Week in Policy & Events
We saw published on the website of the Tianjin Economic and Technological Development Area (TEDA) an article about collaboration between local firm Huaxin Technologies and Spacety. Huaxin was founded in 2020 and is developing subsystems-level components for satellites, including semiconductors and inertial measurement systems. This constitutes the latest instance of Tianjin supporting space.
Shunwei Capital, the Venture Capital firm of Lei Jun, CEO of Xiaomi, held its 10th anniversary party this week. For Chinese companies, company parties can be multi-hour events with a lot of different phases, including but not limited to variety shows, lucky draws, speeches from company executives, employee awards, and so on. This year at the Shunwei 10th Anniversary Party, the prizes included products and various memorabilia from different companies that Shunwei invested into, including….a Galaxy Space satellite, and what looked to be some iSpace swag (no sign of a rocket!) 
Model of a Galaxy Space satellite
Model of a Galaxy Space satellite
Other News of the Week
CAS Space General Manager Hu Xiaowei interviewed with the Nanfang Daily, a local Guangdong newspaper. During the interview, Hu noted that CAS Space’s rocket facility in Nansha is coming along smoothly, with the first phase to be completed in August 2022, with a capacity of 30 rockets per year. More notably, Hu stated that the launch site at Wenchang could be a booster to Guangdong’s space industry, specifically stating that rockets could be manufactured in Guangdong and shipped by sea to Hainan for launch. Surprisingly specific and strong words from someone that should be taken fairly seriously in this context. 
Lastly, Beihang University in Beijing is China’s premier aerospace university. The university’s VC arm published an article about the several senior executives in China’s commercial space sector from Beihang. This includes Yang Feng from Spacety, Liu Baiqi from Galactic Energy, Dong Wei of Satellite Herd, and Chen Donghua of Huaxin Technologies.
This has been another episode of the Dongfang Hour China Space News(letter), we look forward to seeing you next time! Until then, don’t forget to follow us on our websiteYouTubeTwitterInstagramLinkedIn, or your local podcast source.
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