China's rocket specialist OneSpace raises $44m, aims to catch up with SpaceX

By Huang Ge Source:Global Times Published: 2018/8/12 20:18:39

Rocket specialist OneSpace raises $44m, aims to catch up with SpaceX


Chinese commercial rocket firm OneSpace Technology said on Sunday that it completed B round financing of 300 million yuan ($43.8 million).

The move is a positive sign, given rumors that there is a shortage of capital in the industry, analysts said. They said the funding will also help advance the domestic commercial rocket sector and boost Chinese companies' confidence to catch up with world leaders such as US-based SpaceX.

The funding was led by CICC Jiatai (Tianjin) Equity Investment Fund and followed by FinTrek Capital while its shareholders like China Merchants Innovation Investment Management Co increased investment, read a press release the firm sent to the Global Times.

Founded in August 2015, OneSpace has secured four rounds of financing, raising about 800 million yuan.

OneSpace CEO Shu Chang said that the funds will be used in the research and manufacturing of the company's OS-X and OS-M series rockets, industrial upstream and downstream layout, intelligent manufacturing base construction and building a team of talented staff, according to the press release.

OneSpace plans two launches by the end of this year. It is expected to achieve annual production capacity of more than 30 OS-M series rockets and 20 or more OS-X series rockets by 2020, Shu said in the press release.

On May 17, OneSpace successfully launched the country's first privately designed commercial rocket, the Chongqing Liangjiang Star.

The new investment will raise confidence in China's private commercial rocket sector, where many have worried that companies were finding it hard to raise money amid recent instability in the capital market, Lan Tianyi, founder of Beijing-based Ultimate Blue Nebula Co, a space industry consultancy, told the Global Times on Sunday.

The domestic private commercial rocket industry has grown fast in recent years with several companies attracting increased attention such as OneSpace, Beijing-based LandSpace and iSpace, Huang Zhicheng, professor of the Beijing Institute of System Engineering, told the Global Times on Sunday.

LandSpace is scheduled to launch its first orbiting rocket in the fourth quarter, equipped with a commercial satellite, according to domestic technology news site 36kr.com.

Experts said that although the domestic private commercial rocket sector is expanding fast, Chinese companies still lag behind global leaders.

Domestic commercial rocket producers are still lagging behind US players such as SpaceX in terms of technology and scale, Huang said, noting that the US rocket company, which was set up in 2002, is more than a decade old while Chinese private commercial rocket companies are in their infancy.

There are also differences in national policies, with the US giving much support to emerging private companies in terms of technology and capital through the space agency NASA, according to Huang.

"Chinese commercial rocket producers have a bright future," he noted.

The first private commercial aerospace intelligent manufacturing base in the country, which is being built by OneSpace in Southwest China's Chongqing, will be completed and put into production by the end of 2018, according to OneSpace.


Newspaper headline: Rocket specialist OneSpace raises $44m, aims to catch up with SpaceX


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