Yang Yiqiang is currently the director of the Aerospace Flight Science and Technology Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Not long ago, the successful maiden flight of China’s largest solid launch vehicle “Lijian No. 1” made the company involved in its development “surface”, and Yang Yiqiang was the founder of Zhongke Aerospace. The other identity of the person is then known to everyone.
Recently, a variety ofcell phoneThe news of carrying satellite communication technology has led to a discussion about the limited and non-renewable space resources such as satellite orbits. In fact, the global competition in the commercial aerospace field has already begun. On September 9, U.S. Vice President Harris called on the National Space Council meeting that relevant agencies must submit proposals to regulate emerging commercial space activities within 6 months, in order to maintain the absolute advantage of the United States in the space field.
Only China and the US
Global Times: From the perspective of the development level of global commercial aerospace, what stage of development is China’s commercial aerospace in? What is the market size?
Yang Yiqiang: In the field of commercial aerospace, China and the United States have formed a certain market size. The United States began to promote the commercialization of spaceflight in the 1980s. When Musk established SpaceX, the industry was relatively mature in the United States. Although China’s commercial aerospace started late, its development trend is surging and in full swing, driven by policy support, capital blessing and market demand. 2015 is the first year of commercialization of China’s aerospace industry. A report in 2021 shows that there are more than 370 registered companies in China’s commercial aerospace industry. In the past seven years, leading companies have emerged in the fields of launch vehicles and satellite applications, and a complementary pattern between the national team and the private sector has been formed.
At present, China’s commercial aerospace has entered the 2.0 era from the 1.0 era, and is expected to enter the 3.0 era within 5 years. During this period, we need to increase the rocket capacity to 5 tons to 14 tons, build a global satellite constellation, and realize rockets. Recyclable and reduced cost. Another data shows that from 2015 to 2020, the compound annual growth rate of China’s commercial aerospace market has reached 22.09%, which is related to China’s complete independent intellectual property rights and talent hematopoietic mechanism, as well as state support. However, from the perspective of the economic scale and overall enterprise valuation of commercial aerospace, the volume is still relatively small, and there are few companies that really rely on rockets and satellites to make profits. At present, China’s commercial aerospace companies as a whole are still in the “accumulation” stage.
Global Times: In recent years, China’s commercial aerospace track has attracted capital “swarming in”. At present, which fields are the investment hotspots in commercial aerospace?
Yang Yiqiang: Investment hotspots are still rockets and satellites. But in fact, there are enough companies related to rockets and satellites, and the leading companies have appeared. The continuous influx of capital will cause internal friction for these companies, so I suggest that the capital side can focus more on the upstream. Supply chain (such as engines, components, etc.) and downstream satellite applications (such as navigation, remote sensing, etc.). Because, without excellent supply chain products, there will be no good system integration products.
China is expected to start space travel in 2025, with a ticket price of 2 million to 3 million yuan
Global Times: Has the “spring” of China’s commercial aerospace come? Previously, the space travel plans launched by the US Space Exploration Technology Corporation and Blue Origin have attracted global attention. So is the time for China to develop space tourism?
Yang Yiqiang: The “spring” of China’s commercial aerospace will come by 2027 at the latest. The “spring” of commercial aerospace can be judged according to the following signs: First, the satellite constellation is established on a large scale, the launch vehicle has entered the stage of high-density launch, and the recovery and reuse of low-cost large-scale liquid rockets can be realized; second, the commercial aerospace industry is unique. Modes, such as space tourism, can be realized; third, navigation positioning, navigation enhancement, low-orbit Internet and high-time-resolution remote sensing constellations can provide services for the public and enterprises.
Specific to space travel, there are currently three types. The first is to enter the space station, which has strict requirements on the physical and psychological quality of tourists; the second is to take tourists into space through a twin-fuselage air carrier represented by Virgin Galactic’s “White Knight”. This mode is less comfortable and safe; the third is the suborbital travel with more mature technology, which is suitable for most people. With the improvement of the business model, China is expected to start suborbital travel in 2025, with a fare of about 2 million to 3 million yuan.
Global Times: Please analyze the “realization” path and underlying logic of China’s commercial aerospace industry. What development opportunities and barriers do Chinese commercial aerospace companies face?
Yang Yiqiang: China’s aerospace commercialization needs two-wheel drive – market demand and technological innovation. The commercialization direction of aerospace is not complicated. For example, commercial rockets are essentially delivery vehicles. The main profit model in the future is to charge by kilograms and develop extended services such as advertising naming and cultural tourism. The commercialization path of satellites is to provide stable, Accurate data, such as satellite navigation, and the combination of remote sensing satellites with environmental monitoring, urban and rural planning, etc. In my opinion, the key to the development of China’s commercial aerospace is not rockets or satellites, but applications. The closer it is to ordinary people and end users, the higher the business benefits. We want to make commercial aerospace go deep into the lives of ordinary people.
For commercial aerospace companies, the current bad tendency at the level of public opinion is that companies often claim to be China’s “Musk”, hoping to gain the favor of the market and capital with stories, but reliable products are the cornerstone of development. Secondly, traditional aerospace focuses more on launch but less on service. Related companies should strengthen their service awareness and form the concept of “rockets should serve satellites, and satellites should serve applications”. In addition, enterprises should avoid “staking the horses” and build a public experimental platform to revitalize their assets. Finally, a very important point is that in the future, commercial aerospace will evolve towards globalization, and relevant Chinese companies should also increase their sensitivity to the international market, take the lead in leading international industry standards, serve the “Belt and Road” initiative, and “go global”. ‘s task.
Commercial aerospace input-output ratio: 1:20?
Global Times: From the commander-in-chief of “Chang 11” to a commercial aerospace entrepreneur, how do you view the change in identity?
Yang Yiqiang: Transformation is always accompanied by labor pains. After starting a business, we seem to be able to “free ourselves”, but all platforms, including the R&D system, need to be rebuilt. Secondly, as commercial aerospace practitioners, we need to follow business rules and logic. In addition to considering how to do projects, we must also create products and business models that are recognized by the national and social levels, especially the market.
Global Times: With the comprehensive development of space tourism and the utilization of space resources, what are the aspects of commercial spaceflight’s role as an engine for global economic growth?
Yang Yiqiang: This issue can be analyzed from two levels of “tradition” and “new state”. Traditionally, many research reports have analyzed the input-output ratio of commercial aerospace, and the United States also has a saying that “a dollar invested in commercial aerospace will get 7 times, 10 times, or even 20 times the return.” However, this statement mostly refers to some major projects related to the national economy and people’s livelihood. Such projects can transform the results formed during the development of large rockets and satellites into the national economy. For example, China’s Beidou satellite provides global users with all-weather, all-day, high-speed Accurate positioning, navigation and timing services. On the other hand, advances in commercial aerospace technology will also bring immeasurable economic benefits, and these technologies will be transformed into consumer-level application scenarios. More than 450,000; for example, China’s smart city construction, China’s large logistics construction, etc., these technological informatization make the operation of human society and economy more efficient; in addition, remote sensing technology, navigation enhancement, unmanned technology, etc. can not only bring greater economic Benefit is also a booster for the progress of human civilization.