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SpaceX and Chinese pseudo-company complete launches

Two launches today. First, a new Chinese pseudo-company, dubbed Space Pioneer, completed the first launch of its liquid kerosene-fueled Tianlong-1 rocket, putting a military surveillance satellite into orbit.

Space Pioneer is the third Chinese pseudo-company to achieve orbit, but the first to do it with a liquid-fueled rocket. The previous two, Ispace and Galactic Energy, used solid-fueled rockets based on military missile technology. All of these Chinese companies follow a private model. An individual or a group of individuals creates the company, obtains private investment capital, and then wins contracts from the Chinese government. What makes them pseudo is that they do not work independently and freely, and really do not own their products. The Chinese government supervises and approves everything, and can take over at any time.

The second launch today was by SpaceX, using its Falcon 9 rocket lifting off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California to put a new smallsat constellation of ten military satellites, designed to test the quick development (under two years) of such smallsats for use by the military.

The first stage successfully completed its second flight, landing back at Vandenberg. The fairings completed their fourth and sixth flights, respectively.

The leaders in the 2023 launch race:

22 SpaceX
14 China
6 Russia
3 Rocket Lab

American private enterprise still leads China 25 to 14 in the national rankings, and the entire world combined 25 to 24. SpaceX by itself trails the entire world, including American companies, 22 to 27.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • Jeff Wright

    If this is true it’s frightening:

    To become an Adult Spartan—you literally had to get away with murder to be a made guy.

    Madoff notwithstanding, we at least pretend to have laws, morals, etc.

    We can knock Boeing and old-space….but the ruthlessness in China is off the scale.

    I have heard it said than early on, any aspiring leader had to prove themselves in a space capacity.

    Here, people with a calling for space do space…there—it’s where they play squid game.

    Worse—it seems to work.

    Space advocates here are too nice. We all lament how sports seem to take the oxygen out of the room…and grouse, while aimless opportunists advance. There…it is expected.

    I will give China this…as a people…they are driven.

  • Timberwind

    Potemkin Private Space Companies

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