Credit: LandSpace

An appraisal of China’s commercial space sector provides a review of the current landscape of China’s nascent but growing commercial space sector.

The report — Evaluation of China’s Commercial Space Sector – has been issued by the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) Science and Technology Policy Institute in Washington, D.C.

Key questions

The assessment uses original documents and first-hand Chinese-language interviews with Chinese companies and China’s industry experts.

The report addresses three questions:

  • What factors are driving the development of China’s emerging commercial space sector?
  • What are the key characteristics of this sector?
  • What are its strengths and weaknesses, and where do we expect Chinese commercial space companies to be in the next 5–10 years?

Locations of commercial space companies. Credit: IDA’s Science and Technology Policy

Critical mass

The report concludes that, while China’s commercial space sector is presently in an embryonic stage and many appear to be struggling, some are slowly gaining their footing.

A small number of Chinese commercial space companies could grow to a point where they have critical mass, especially if markets that benefit from the launch and use of small satellites grow rapidly.

“If this is the case, the Chinese government is likely to take a greater role in ensuring the success—and contribution to the Chinese economy and national security—of the commercial space sector, as it has done in adjacent sectors such as telecommunications and IT,” the report observes.

If, space applications of interest to businesses and households (rather than governments) emerge, the report continues, “China can leverage its capabilities in rapid mass production, its skilled space industry workforce, and its ability to quickly develop products—similar to what China has done in telecommunications and IT sectors.”

To access this report, go to:

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