China: Based in Changsha, the capital of Hunan province of China, Spacety Co Ltd has announced that it is planning to launch 20 satellites in space by the end of 2018. The purpose of most of these launches is to supply data to a growing number of research institutions and other business customers, whereas, some of these satellites will be involved in microgravity experiments.
The project will help the Chinese research institutions in their work mainly because without space data you cannot do research in space. But now, with Spacety offering a one-stop service at an affordable price, the problem of data can be resolved.
In a report published by China Daily, Spacety CEO, Yang Feng said, Spacety’s business turns out to be a viable one. Still, his plan appears to be simple. In these missions, experiments will be carried out in space through Spacety satellites and the reams of data will be relayed back to clients on Earth.
In November, last year, the company had launched its first small satellite Ty-1. It was able to upload four payloads for scientific research during its 12-month operational cycle.
Earlier this year, Spacety developed the DIDO-2 in partnership with an Israeli startup SpacePharma. It was China‘s first satellite involved in studying microgravity as in an orbiting spacecraft. These “fully-booked” projects have already made a profit for the two-year-old company, Yang confirmed, without giving detailed financial numbers.
In the second half of this year, five more satellites will blast off. They are also “fully booked”. “Each spacecraft will be assigned up to five tasks in accordance to the demands of clients,” he added. “We have no space left.”
In addition to research institutions, a growing number of companies have also shown interest in “reserving a knowledge seat” on one of Spacety’s satellites.
“Usually, it is internet companies specializing in big data,” Yang said.
“Even those in the solar energy business have talked to me about the possibility of space flight,” he added, without going into details.
Next year, one highly anticipated launch will involve a time-share satellite carrying an optical telescope. Clients will be able to rent the service by logging on to a web portal, and view distant stars in distant galaxies.
“Our plan is to charge between 2,000 yuan ($295) to 3,000 yuan per hour,” Yang said.
Obviously, there is a market out there for space enthusiasts, as well as research scientists. Xing Zhigang works in a commercial bank during the day in Beijing but gazes at the sky at night.
“These images will be much clearer than those captured by ground-based telescopes,” Xing said. “They are often affected by light pollution and atmospheric disturbance.”
But will targeting amateur astrologists such as Xing prove profitable for Spacety? Yang admitted this might take time from what, at first, might be a small consumer base. Even so, the company has attracted investor attention.