Space billionaires face competition from China

President Xi Jinping has loosened the government’s monopoly on space launches, fuelling the formation of small domestic companies with ambitions to challenge Musk’s SpaceX, Bezos’ Blue Origin, and Branson’s Virgin Galactic

19th October, 2018
Chinese space start-ups could target smaller satellite market. Pic: Getty

Billionaires Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Richard Branson dominate the emerging industry of commercial spaceflight. They’re competing to put satellites, tourists, or both in space in their bids to become cheaper alternatives to NASA, the European Space Agency, and other government-run space programmes.

But like pioneers in the smartphone and artificial intelligence industries before them, they now face competition from a deep-pocketed upstart that threatens to disrupt their launchpads: China.

The start-ups are...

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