Yang Yiqiang, founder of a government-backed rocket commercialization firm, predicts commercial space travel will be “in full bloom” by 2027. In 2018, he also led the Long March 11 missile project as Director General.
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According to Yang in an interview with Global Times, China’s commercial space industry has moved from the 1.0 era defined by basic manufacturing and research and development (R&D) to the 2.0 era, driven by applications and market forces.
In another decade, the market should reach the same level of progress as the United States.
According to Yang, among the many types of space travel, suborbital flight is the most advanced and suitable for the majority of people. The 10-minute flight would take passengers across the Kármán Line, the boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and space, where they would experience weightlessness for a few minutes.
It is estimated that China will launch its first commercial suborbital space journey in 2025, with tickets reportedly costing between 2 and 3 million yuan (about US$287,200 to US$430,800).
According to an industry assessment, in 2021 China had more than 370 companies specializing in satellite production, rocket launch and important downstream services based on orbiting satellites.
However, the size of Chinese commercial players in the industry is still very small, and few of their rocket and satellite companies are turning a profit.