Space Pioneer Receives Funding For Tianlong-3 Rocket 

3rd Nov 2023
Space Pioneer Receives Funding For Tianlong-3 Rocket 

China’s Tianbing Technology, otherwise known as Space Pioneer, has received over 700 million Yuan in a recent C+ funding round. The Chinese rocket manufacturer said the funding will go towards three areas of its operation: mass producing their Tianlong-2 rocket, developing their Tianlong-3 rocket, and research into reusable and retrievable spacecraft technology. The company is gaining notice as China’s technological answer to SpaceX.

Space Pioneer said in a statement: “In the next few years, Tianbing Technology will [place] liquid launch vehicle recovery and reusable technology as its core focus… main[ly] products such as large and heavy-duty liquid launch vehicles… manned spacecraft, and achieve comprehensive breakthroughs in technology and products.”

The Tianlong-2 & Tianlong-3 Rockets

Tianlong-2 Launch. Credit: VideosFromSpace

Tianlong-2 has already completed its inaugural flight, and to maintain momentum, some of the funding will cover mass production. Their flagship Tianlong-3 rocket, which is poised to match SpaceX’s Falcon 9, will receive the bulk of the investment. Initially, the rocket will assist in bolstering China’s internet infrastructure. 

Tianlong-3’s features include a launch mass of 590 tonnes, and can deliver 14 tonnes of payload to sun-synchronous orbit. Space Pioneer said the reusable rocket will have the ability to deliver over 30 satellites, making it “the first in China to achieve [this] capability,” they added. The rocket will also purportedly be able to meet the cost-effective, reliance, and launch frequency needed to transport internet satellite constellations. 

Currently, Space Pioneer said Tianlong-3 is in its design and production phase and is set to undergo “ground testing and verification”. Sights are now set on a maiden flight in early 2024, and if all goes well, the rocket is slated to complete over 30 launches a year.  

The C+ Funding Round 

Space Pioneer originated in 2015, and has placed its primary focus on rocket engines and medium to large sized launch vehicles. The Chinese space company said they received “several hundred million Yuan” to complete further development on their array of rockets. 

Space Pioneer said CITIC Construction Investment ushered the funding round, which was their 12th over eight years, with investments equalling more than 3 billion Yuan. As they gear up for their next space flight, investors will be eagerly watching on; those companies included: 

  • CCTV Fund;
  • Deyue Investment;
  • Hongfu Assets;
  • Suzhou Asset Management;
  • Capital Development;
  • Venture Capital;
  • And a range of others

Tianlong-3 Compared To CNSA’s Long March 5B

Credit: Space Pioneer

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) is in the midst of preparing for their Change-6 mission which will launch aboard the Long-March 5 rocket. This spacecraft belongs to a family of rockets that all boast a range of features comparative to Tianlong-3. However, it’s only Long-March 5B that beats Space Pioneer’s LEO delivery capabilities. 

Comparatively, Long March 5B is 53.7 metres tall, which makes Tianlong-3 bigger by 17.3 metres. However, its fairing diameter is only 3.35-metres, whereas, Long March 5B’s is 5.2-metres. Conversely, CNSA’s rocket can deliver more payload to LEO – over 22 tonnes – which trumps Tianlong-3’s 17 tonne capacity. But ultimately, Space Pioneer’s upcoming rocket is yet to live up to expectations; if it does, it will rival CNSA’s arsenal of heavy launch vehicles.  

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