PASADENA, Calif. — Despite a surge in Chinese launch activity and growth of commercial Chinese launch developers, executives with American companies said they’re not worried about potential competition with them.
The issue of Chinese competition has become a particular concern in the last year for small launch vehicle developers. Several private Chinese companies are working on small launch vehicles, although none have yet successfully placed a payload into orbit. Some in the industry believe that, should some of those companies be successful, they could offer launches at significantly lower prices than American or other Western vehicles.
Those Chinese companies, though, don’t worry Tim Ellis, chief executive of Relativity, a small launch vehicle startup. “When you look at global competition, it’s certainly something that is interesting,” he said during a panel discussion at the Space Tech Expo conference here May 21.
However, he felt his company’s Terran 1 rocket will not be undercut by Chinese vehicles on price. The company is offering launches of the Terran 1, which can place up to 1,250 kilograms into low Earth orbit, for $10 million each. “When we’ve looked at price competition,” he said, “we can be competitive with Chinese launchers.”
Chinese vehicles are off-limits ...