Chinese Chip & Rocket Firms Team Up to Propel Commercial Space Sector

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According to the South China Morning Post, China has formed the Commercial Space Industry Technology Alliance, comprising universities, rocket makers, and semiconductor companies, to develop the commercial space sector, deemed a “new growth engine” by Beijing.

The alliance intends to “promote technological research, development, innovation and commercialisation of achievements in the field of aerospace” and contribute to the development of China as “a strong aerospace nation”, the statement said.

Initiated by the Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT), the first Chinese college to establish an astronautics faculty in 1987, the alliance consists of over 100 members, including fabless chip designer Loongson Technology, Beijing Tasson Technology, rocket developers LandSpace and iSpace, and renowned engineering schools like Zhejiang University and Northwestern Polytechnical University.

The alliance aims to boost China’s economy, which grew 5.3% in the first quarter, lower than the double-digit growth rates achieved between 2003 and 2011. Premier Li Qiang’s government work report in March named commercial astronautics as one of six new engines to drive economic growth, with Beijing and Shanghai revealing plans to foster the commercial space industry.

Interesting use cases are being explored, such as Alibaba Group Holding’s partnership with Space Epoch to test a parcel delivery service to anywhere in the world within an hour.

China conducted 26 commercial space launches last year, accounting for 39% of the total, with 25 successful missions, according to a report by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.

Featured image: A Long March-3B carrier rocket blasts off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, Sichuan Province, China, May 9, 2024. Credit: Xinhua

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