China is expected to complete its first sea launch for commercial payloads in 2018, said Yang Baohua, vice general manager of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASTC).
Yang made the remarks at an annual academic conference on space science held from November 1 to 2 in Beijing.
The service will also be provided in other regions in addition to its four major sites in Jiuquan, Taiyuan, Xichang, and Wenchang, Yang noted.
At the conference, Yang introduced the company’s experience, competence, and advantages, as well as its on-going commercial aerospace programs, and also evaluated the prospects of the commercial space industry.
“CASTC is dedicated to offering various commercial launching solutions to meet the market demands of low cost and fast preparation,” Yang said.
Key technological tests will be conducted for the sea launch of the Long-march rocket family this year, according to Tang Yagang, deputy director of carrier rocket development at the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology.
The commercial service is expected to be available for international users in 2018. By then, the Long-march rockets will be able to send 500-kilogram satellites to an altitude of 500 kilometers above Earth, at an inclination of 0-10 degrees.
In recent years, with the growing demand for launching near-equatorial and low-inclination satellites from countries near the equator, sea launch service has become an area of fierce competition among space powers.