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.