Four stars with one stone, shining in the sea and sky!

On September 9, China's private rocket company Galaxy Power successfully completed the launch mission of the Ceres-5 sea-launched (Yao-4) carrier rocket in Haiyang, Shandong Province, and successfully launched four satellites into a predetermined orbit of 800 kilometers.

This is the first time that a Chinese private rocket company has carried out a sea launch mission and achieved success. Compared with land launch, sea launch is a new mode, which has the characteristics of strong flexibility, good mission adaptability and excellent launch economy, and can flexibly select the launch point and landing area to meet the launch needs of various orbital payloads and effectively solve the long-term concern of the outside world.

Of course, this also means higher technical requirements and greater implementation difficulties. Only a few countries in the world have the capability to launch sea.

China's private aerospace industry has sprung up

In April 2014, after SpaceX's Falcon 4 rocket was launched into space, the rocket first stage booster successfully landed in the Atlantic Ocean, "successfully achieving the first soft landing of a rocket in history." This landmark event in the history of human spaceflight has also stirred the nerves of the global media.

Almost at the same time, China ushered in a "policy icebreaker" for private aerospace. This year, the state clearly proposed from the policy level to support private capital to participate in the construction of national civil space infrastructure. The following year, the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Finance and the Bureau of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense jointly issued the National Civil Space Infrastructure Medium- and Long-term Development Plan (2015-2025), which clearly conveyed support for private rockets and satellites.

Since then, China's private aerospace industry has sprung up, and many rocket companies and satellite companies have sprung up. However, under the boom, technology precipitation and market washing are carried out simultaneously, and the past ten years have also made China's private aerospace experience a cycle from explosive to calm. Now, with the Blue Arrow Aerospace, Interstellar Glory, Galaxy Power, Changguang Satellite, Micro-Nano Starry Sky and other leading enterprises have broken through and emerged, China's private aerospace has also ushered in a harvest period.

Just for 2023 -

In April, the "Tianlong-4" liquid launch vehicle developed by Tianbing Technology successfully made its first flight, creating a global private liquid rocket first flight success record;

In June, the "Lijiang-6" Yao-26 carrier rocket developed by China Science and Technology Aerospace was successfully launched, which adopted the "one arrow <> stars" method, breaking the highest record of multiple satellites with one arrow in China;

In July, the Suzaku-7 Yao-<> liquid oxygen methane carrier rocket independently developed by Blue Arrow Aerospace was successfully launched, becoming the world's first liquid oxygen methane rocket successfully orbited...

If we say that the glory of soaring into the sky and chasing dreams in the past is mostly brought by the "national team"; So now, China's private aerospace is sprinting to space with a strong posture, bringing more and more surprises to the Chinese people.

Differentiate competition with the "national team"

People often ask, our "national team" is already so strong, why should we launch private rockets and expand private spaceflight?

Market demand is the biggest driving force. At present, satellites are widely used in communications, remote sensing and navigation and other fields. For example, "satellite Internet" is included in the scope of new infrastructure, and satellite networking is urgently needed for 6G network construction; In the fields of infrastructure mapping and environmental monitoring, satellite remote sensing is indispensable; With the advancement of the construction of sea, land and air transportation, precision agriculture, and smart cities, satellite navigation has become a necessary prerequisite...

The increasing application demand puts forward higher requirements for the launch capacity and launch density of a country's rocket. As some industry insiders said, "Rockets are a core and a foundation of aerospace engineering, and how strong the carrying capacity of rockets is, how big the stage of aerospace is." But the reality is that the current domestic microsatellite market is booming, and many small satellites want to "carpool into the sky", but the rocket of the "national team" is difficult to find.

More importantly, internationally, orbital resources have always been on a first-come, first-served basis. At present, many countries are actively deploying launch satellites in order to "occupy as many seats as possible".

At this time, private aerospace is catching up, making up for the gap in the "national team" rocket lineage and forming differentiated competition, which can undoubtedly greatly enhance the vitality and competitiveness of China's aerospace industry.

The start is late, but the starting point is not low

Objectively speaking, although China's private aerospace started late, the starting point is actually not low.

For the entire Chinese industrial system, aerospace has always been one of our fist industries. Just as companies such as SpaceX and Blue Origin are exploring on the ladder of the US technology industry, the innovation and breakthrough of Chinese commercial aerospace enterprises are inseparable from the accumulation and precipitation of China's aerospace industry for decades.

On the one hand, at present, the R & D backbone of private aerospace enterprises basically comes from the "technology flow" within the system, and many entrepreneurs used to be independent industry bulls, and the role of the "national team" in talent transmission and project incubation is obvious.

On the other hand, the development of a launch vehicle is a huge and complex system engineering, and the number of parts of a rocket is sometimes as high as hundreds of thousands, and it is impossible for a single company to complete it. The reason why private aerospace enterprises can quickly develop high-precision rocket products is because there is a huge traditional aerospace industry chain behind them.

The base is good, but there are no shortcuts to "heaven". "Trial and error and catch-up" has always been the main theme of China's private aerospace.

Looking at rocket manufacturing alone, this is recognized in the industry as a field with large investment, long cycle and high risk, involving structural design, production process, fuel injection, launch entry, disengagement timing and many other links, any small mistake may lead to the failure of the entire mission. Take the "hardcore benchmark" SpaceX's Falcon rocket, its launch failure or even explosion is no longer news.

In addition, under the action of market laws, there are also differences in the path between private aerospace and the "national team". For example, compared with solid fuels, private enterprises such as Blue Arrow Aerospace are more inclined to choose liquid fuels such as liquid oxygen methane with low cost, easy access and high efficiency. However, there was no successful experience in the industry in the liquid oxygen methane launch vehicle before, which means that every link needs to be explored by enterprises.

They dare to "go to zero" in the face of failure

"The innate charm of aerospace makes everyone involved have a spontaneous sense of mission." This is the voice of private aerospace entrepreneurs, and it is also the spiritual momentum that pushes them to overcome difficulties.

Without special spirit, there will be no special performance. Especially able to endure hardships, special ability to fight, special ability to tackle problems, special ability to dedicate, for decades, with a tenacity that does not admit defeat, generations of Chinese astronauts have persevered and struggled hard to achieve today's "suffering and glory". With the spillover flow of talents, such a spirit is also inherited in the cultural blood of private aerospace enterprises.

In the face of failure, they dare to "go to zero". After the launch of the Suzaku-2 Yao-1 carrier rocket failed, although the enterprise was unwilling, it immediately carried out "zeroing" verification, and in less than a year, the Suzaku-2 Yao-2 arrow shone in the sky.

In the face of difficult problems, they boldly innovate. In order to control costs, the "Ceres" series of rockets uses an attitude and orbit control power system with low chamber pressure, high specific impulse and high loading ratio to achieve weight reduction and efficiency and improve carrying efficiency.

In the face of disparity, they endure loneliness. The engineers of Blue Arrow Aerospace ran to the ravine, stunned and forced the engine test bench to get out, improving the support capabilities required for engine development...

The road is always bumpy and muddy, and the risk of failure always follows, but as long as you keep your faith and go steadfast, it will be a clear blue sky.

Why can China's aerospace industry? The answer lies in such a spirit, in the inheritance and continuation of the spirit.

The human spirit of exploration must be great

Scientific and technological innovation "nine dead life", every step to face difficulties, do not need careful care.

At that time, Musk took $1 million, which was only enough to withstand three launch failures, and if the fourth time failed, the company would go bankrupt directly. From this point of view, our private aerospace enterprises, more patience with them and more support for them, is also the key to innovation breakthrough.

From a realistic point of view, in recent years, the support for related industries in various places is not small. Taking Beijing as an example, in the Yizhuang Economic and Technological Development Zone, an area circled by Ronghua South Road and Disheng Street is known as China's "Rocket Street", gathering 180 StarArrow Network-affiliated enterprises.

According to incomplete statistics, in the past three years, Beijing Yizhuang has directly subsidized more than 3000 million yuan for aerospace enterprises, and policies such as talent introduction, talent assessment, work and residence permits, public rental housing, and investment in science and technology innovation funds have benefited aerospace enterprises on a large scale. For example, just two months before the launch of the Suzaku-<> Yao-<> carrier rocket, the first project of Beijing Yizhuang Industrial Upgrading Equity Investment Fund was invested in Blue Arrow Aerospace.

Some economists describe the private economy as follows: "If you encounter a spring breeze, it will spread all over the mountains and flourish." Private aerospace enterprises have the advantages of high degree of marketization, efficient decision-making, strong incentives, sensitive response, and wide reach.

"Dapeng rose with the wind in one day and soared to 90,000 li."

Looking back, we have achieved great results; We still have a gap against international benchmarking.

It is still that sentence: human beings may be small in the face of the vast universe, but the human spirit of exploration must be great.

With strong spirit, firm faith, and down-to-earth, in front of China's private aerospace, there will be a broader sea of stars.

According to the Beijing Daily