Chinese Rocket Company Space Pioneer Secures C-Round Funding for Tianlong-3 Reusable Launch Vehicle


In a significant development, Chinese rocket firm Space Pioneer has successfully secured C-round funding for its revolutionary Tianlong-3 medium-lift reusable launch vehicle. The Beijing-based company, officially known as Beijing Tianbing Technology Co., Ltd, announced the completion of the funding round on July 5. This achievement comes on the heels of Space Pioneer's historic debut in April, when their Tianlong-2 rocket became the first Chinese commercial outfit to reach orbit using a liquid propellant launcher.

Tianlong-3 Reusable Launch Vehicle

Since its establishment in 2018, Space Pioneer has raised an impressive total of three billion Chinese yuan ($414 million) across 11 funding rounds. In February, the company had already secured strategic funding in the form of "B+" and "Pre-C" rounds. Notably, several leading investors involved in these funding rounds have ties to the Chinese state. Among them are China International Capital Corporation (CICC), a partially state-owned investment vehicle, CCB International (a subsidiary of China Construction Bank Corporation), CITIC Construction (the engineering and construction arm of CITIC Group), and Zhejiang University Lianchuang. Venture capital has also played a significant role in supporting the company's endeavors.

The newly acquired funds will be allocated towards the development of the Tianlong-3 kerosene-liquid oxygen launch vehicle, including its engine, and the construction of a dedicated launch complex at the Jiuquan national spaceport. Additionally, the funds will be used to enhance mass production capabilities and facilitate recruitment efforts. The eagerly anticipated inaugural launch of the Tianlong-3 rocket is scheduled for May 2024. Space Pioneer envisions launching the rocket up to 30 times per year starting from 2025, if successful. The company aims for the Tianlong-3 to be comparable to SpaceX's renowned Falcon 9.

Dubbed "Sky Dragon-3," the Tianlong-3 is a two-stage kerosene-liquid oxygen rocket equipped with a reusable first stage. According to Space Pioneer's website, the rocket boasts a payload capacity of 17 tons to low Earth orbit or 14 tons to a 500-kilometer sun-synchronous orbit. With a takeoff mass of 590 tons and a thrust output of 770 tons, the Tianlong-3 measures 71 meters in length and features a diameter of 3.8 meters. This represents a departure from previous commercial Chinese rockets, which typically used 2.25 or 3.35-meter-diameter stages similar to those of the Long March rocket family.

Space Pioneer emphasizes that the Tianlong-3 has been specifically designed to facilitate the launch of satellites for China's national communications megaconstellation. The company asserts that the Tianlong-3 will provide "important strategic support for the country's new satellite Internet infrastructure," as stated in their July 5 announcement. China's ambitious 13,000-strong Guowang constellation is seen as the nation's answer to SpaceX's Starlink project.

In a departure from earlier players in the Chinese commercial launch sector, newer companies such as Space Pioneer and OrienSpace have chosen to develop larger launch vehicles. This strategic shift is driven by the potential contracts for the Guowang project and commercial cargo missions. Notably, Space Pioneer has already secured 10 orders for launches using the Tianlong-2.


Looking ahead, Space Pioneer has additional plans for the Tianlong-3 series, including the Tianlong-3H, a triple-core version reminiscent of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy, and the Tianlong-3M, a single core rocket featuring a reusable spaceplane.

Originally focused on developing engines utilizing green monopropellant, Space Pioneer shifted its direction during its journey. The company also abandoned the development of the Tianlong-1 rocket.

Space Pioneer has received generous sponsorship and investment from Zhangjiagang, a city in Jiangsu province located on the Yangtze river. The company is establishing rocket manufacturing facilities in Zhangjiagang, and the Tianlong-2 launch prominently featured the city's name.

In related news, fellow Chinese commercial firm Landspace is preparing for the second launch of its Zhuque-2 methane-liquid oxygen rocket from Jiuquan. Airspace closure notices indicate a launch window of 1:53 a.m. to 4:14 a.m. Eastern on July 12.

Picture:Image by vecstock on Freepik

Post a Comment


Post a Comment (0)

#buttons=(Accept !) #days=(20)

Our website uses cookies to enhance your experience. Check Now
Accept !