With the second largest space budget in the world and 300,000 employees in the sector, China is clearly displaying its objectives in terms of space conquest. As for space tourism, President Xi Jinping's goal is becoming increasingly clear: to make China the leading space power by 2045.
Yang Yiqiang, founder of CAS Space (Beijing Zhongke Aerospace Exploration Technology Co., Ltd.) confirmed the goals: "Thanks to the rapid development of space technologies, a trip to space for ordinary people is no longer a fantasy, it is becoming a reality”.
This is an important step that has just been taken, as China lacked concrete space tourism projects, even if some companies such as Landspace, iSpace or Space Transportation had tried, without success, to lay down milestones on the market.
According to CAS Space's press release, the company aims to conduct a first demonstration flight in the latter part of 2022, followed by a full suborbital test flight in 2023, with suborbital tourist services to customers beginning as early as 2024.
1000 passengers per year into space
CAS Space was established in December 2018. It is one of many Chinese commercial launch companies that had emerged since 2014, when China opened its space sector to private capital.
CAS Space is a well-funded company with a strong heritage, expertise and support from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Guangzhou government.
The company estimates that with its reusable rocket, 1000 passengers can be transported into space each year, at a rate of seven tourists per flight.
Passengers will receive a short training before taking a 10-minute flight over the Karman line, giving them 3 minutes of "zero gravity". The cost of such an "excursion" into space will be approximately $300,000 USD.
The 2nd largest space budget in the world
CAS Space has just signed a cooperation agreement with a major Chinese state-owned travel agency, so that they can jointly explore the space tourism market.
Also, the rocket landing site would be integrated into an aerospace theme park that would include a space experience room and an aerospace science education base.
China is therefore pursuing its ambition to have cheaper and more efficient launch services and thus compete with space agencies like NASA or private aerospace companies like SpaceX or Virgin Galactic.
China has the second largest space budget in the world, at $10.3 billion, and employs 18 times the number of NASA employees, or 300,000 people.