The impact of coronavirus on China’s space industry

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Link here. The focus when discussing the epidemic, which continues to grow, should certainly not be on how it is slowing China’s space industry. At the same time, any slow down in their space effort will give us a good indicator on how the virus is effecting their entire economy.

Anyway, it appears, at least as this moment, that the biggest effect in space is the halt of operations for the Kuaizhou smallsat rocket.

Expace, a launch service provider for solid-propellant Kuaizhou rockets, has temporarily halted work due to its proximity to the epicenter of the outbreak. A new Kuaizhou-11 rocket, larger than the Kuaizhou-1A currently in service, was reportedly scheduled for a test flight late February.

Expace is situated in the Wuhan National Space Industry Base, a hub designed to facilitate commercial space activities. The firm is a spinoff from defense contractor CASIC and its subsidiary, China Sanjiang Space Group. The Kuaizhou launch vehicle series are understood to be derived from missile technology.

Other impacts probably won’t become obvious for months, when we can gauge whether there has been a slow down in Chinese launches below the predicted 40 for 2020.



  • Diane Wilson

    The tech industry is already feeling the effect of coronavirus, because there is so much dependence around the world on components and finished products from China. Travel in and out of China is also being cut way back, which will affect airlines as well as any businesses with any connections to China.

    This may well be a “subtle hint” to bring back key industries into the US.

  • Col Beausaber

    Note that “just in time” inventory policies with minimum reserve stocks will affect many industries

  • Ron

    Bob, or anyone else that may have an idea….

    Several folks that I work with in VA saw about 50-60 lights today in early morning sky (about 5:30). They said that they looked like satellites going over but they were in a straight line one right after another. I was wondering if these could be the One Web satellites that were launched by Russia yesterday. Thoughts?


  • Ron: They could be the OneWeb satellites, but my first guess would be a string of Starlink satellites. I suspect one of my readers could direct us to a website that tracks these things and provides times and places where you can see them overhead.

  • Ron

    Thanks Bob! I think that this might be it.

    CUSAT 2 & FALCON 9 R/B


  • Edward

    Apparently, Starlink satellites are brighter than expected. Astronomers are worried that they will interfere with their observations.
    What sets Starlink apart is their magnitude, both in terms of number and brightness. When initially launched into parking orbits at an altitude of about 300 kilometers, they have a visual magnitude of between two or three: bright enough to be easily seen by the naked eye, even in a light-polluted city. By the time they get to their operational orbit of 550 kilometers, they dim to about fifth magnitude, visible to the naked eye only in much darker skies away from cities. However, even at fifth magnitude the satellites are bright enough to pose a problem for professional astronomers who require long exposures on large telescopes to observe faint celestial objects. … SpaceX says it was also surprised. “We certainly knew this was a novel spacecraft design in a novel architecture, but the level of brightness and visibility was a surprise to us,” … Now that SpaceX believes it understands what makes the Starlink satellites so bright, it is testing ways to make them less reflective.

    Meanwhile, from the Space News Coronavirus article: “Li Wenliang, the doctor who was censured for alerting the public to the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, … contracted and succumbed to the new coronavirus, had been one of the first to issue a warning about the new virus on social media. He was subsequently compelled by police to sign a statement saying his warning was an unfounded, illegal rumor.

    It looks like some authorities in China did not take this seriously enough in the early days or weeks of the outbreak. A doctor who should be a hero, like Dr. John Snow in 19th century London, was instead “Richard Jewelled.” This time, however, it seems that everyone worldwide will suffer some amount whether or not we know someone who contracts the disease.

  • wayne

    If we’re really, really lucky, this virus will kill all 90 million of the card-carrying communist ruling elite that run the slave-state known as china.

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