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The competition heats up: China announced today that it plans to hold the launch cost of its Long March rockets at $70 million per launch.
Until Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, Calif., arrived on the scene with advertised launch prices that bested even those of the Chinese, the Long March was considered the low-cost option among providers of rockets carrying satellites to geostationary transfer orbit, where most communications satellites are dropped off in orbit. [Chinese] officials point out that SpaceX has yet to prove its ability to maintain its prices – between $58 million and around $65 million for commercial customers – as it inaugurates its new Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket and ramps production to meet the company’s large commercial backlog.
China is gambling that its proven track record will entice customers to pay them the extra money over SpaceX’s unproven Falcon 9.