On 4 July, One Space, a Chinese NewSpace startup developing low-cost launch vehicles, successfully tested the first stage rocket motor of its M-series family of rockets.
The success of this test means One Space is on track for the first test launch of OS-M1, the first of its M-series launch vehicles, scheduled for end-2018.
OS-M1, a four-stage solid propellant rocket, will be 19m long, with a liftoff mass of 20 tonnes. The launch vehicle will be able to carry a maximum payload of 205kg to Low Earth Orbit (LEO), and 143kg to the Sun-Synchronous Orbit (SSO).
Following OS-M1, One Space will test OS-M2, a slightly large version of the OS-M1 that will be able to carry up to 390kg to LEO and 292kg to SSO. With these M-series vehicles, One Space intends to provide rapid low-cost launches for small satellites, with an estimated launch preparation time of only 48 hours.
In May this year, One Space conducted the first commercial flight of its OS-X, a suborbital sounding rocket able to reach a speed of Mach 20. The flight in May saw the first vehicle from the OS-X series, OS-XO, conduct an experiment for a Chinese research institute from Shenyang. This also represented the first commercial rocket launch, by a commercial space company, in China.
One Space was formed in 2015, targeting the small satellite launch market. By 2016, the company had raised funding of more than 1 million CNY (approximately US$150 million), and managed to raise an additional US$200 million in January this year. In addition to launch services, the company also manufactures and sells rocket engines and components.