The commercial launch market is experiencing a transformation – and China wants in.
There are now reports that the Kuaizhou-11 rocket (Kuaizhou is commonly translated as “speedy vessel”) will be ready for launch as early as 2016.
Chinese state media has quoted Gao Hongwei, the chairman of China Aerospace Science an Industry Corporation, a state-owned company that serves as the main contractor for China’s space program, as saying that the new rocket has big potential and that an investment in the commercial launch sector bring a return of up to 14 times the original investment.
It should be noted that in the past, much of the Kuaizhou program has been shrouded in secrecy.
Whatever the case may be, as ROOM author Igor Afanasyev has recently argued, China is expected to become a major player on the commercial market in just a few years – and could even go toe-to-toe with SpaceX as far as pricing goes.