Clients from Singapore, Italy, Spain, Hong Kong, and Sri Lanka, as well as mainland customers, have already either signed up for a spot on iSpace’s rockets or expressed interest. ispace is open to both private and government clients.
“It’s the same for us whether it’s a private or a state-owned company,” Vice President for Marketing and Communications Yao Bowen said.
The price tag to launch a rocket is 4.5 million euros ($5 million), Yao added.
That compares with the $25 million to $30 million needed for a launch on a Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems Pegasus, a commonly used small rocket.
Since its founding in late 2016, ispace has completed six rounds of fund-raising totalling over 700 million yuan ($102 million). The last round took place in June.
To help develop the Hyperbola-2, which will also be a reusable rocket, iSpace will “definitely” complete a large round of fund-raising later this year, Huo said, declining to give more details.
Many of ispace’s rivals are designing cheap, disposable boosters. Only one other firm – LinkSpace – aims to build reusable rockets that return to Earth after delivering their payload, much like the Falcon 9 rockets of Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
The reusable design of Hyperbola-2 will cut costs by 70 percent, Huo said.
ispace estimates the first launch of its reusable rocket in 2021.
The firm was founded by Peng Xiaobo, a former director of research and development at the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, a top state Chinese rocket maker.
ispace also owns a defense technology firm, corporate registration data published by the Beijing Administration for Industry and Commerce shows.