Chinese startup Guoyao Tech working on electromagnetic propulsion for rockets

Image courtesy of Chinese Academy of Sciences

On September 20, Guangzhou-based company Guoyao Tech announced plans for a new launch system based on electromagnetic propulsion, with the aim of eventually replacing chemical rockets. The company’s first step would be to complete a prototype and test launch by 2022, where it will attempt to lift a payload of 10kg to an unspecified altitude/orbit.

Following that, in 2023, Guoyao will attempt another launch, followed by full commercialisation in 2025. Its eventual aim is to replace chemical propellants altogether, while at the same time making sending humans to space more affordable by lowering the cost of a manned Low Ear Orbit (LEO) launch to US$2.6 million per launch by 2025.

Guoyao Tech has been developing electromagnetic propulsion systems in the aerospace sector, including for search-and-rescue operations. Founded in 2017, the company succeeding in completing its first electromagnetic prototype for launch in 2019, for which is received $1.5 million in Series A funding.

Yadong Zhang, Chief Technology Officer, explained that the envisioned launch system will cut costs to US$600 per kg of payload to LEO, and allows for multiple launches per day. Additionally, the system they are currently working on will be able to replace a launch vehicle’s first stage, or throw the satellite directly into Near-Earth Orbit, bypassing the staged rocket model, in addition to obvious environmental benefits.

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