Chinese private space company joins Taobao

Privately-run Beijing Sepoch Technology Co announced on Sunday that it will collaborate with Chinese e-commerce platform Taobao, an affiliate of Alibaba, to experiment with delivering on-demand packages with reusable rockets.

The first test will be tried out in 2024, according to Beijing Sepoch. If the project moves smoothly, international delivery packages could be completed by a rocket within hours.

The private space company confirmed the plan with the Global Times on Sunday. The delivery will use the first stage of Sepoch Hiker, a medium-sized reusable liquid carrier rocket developed by the company.

The rocket’s body is made using stainless steel, and it incorporates industrial manufacturing technology with innovative maritime recycling technology, which reduces research and development time and efficiently brings down manufacturing risks. If proved successful, the rockets could meet soaring demand for international deliveries.

The Sepoch Hiker has set up a cargo-space holding area, with a capacity of loading a 10-ton payload of goods. The cargo space has a designed volume of 120 cubic meters and a diameter of 4.2 meters, meaning that it will not only transport a large quantity of medium- and small-sized packages but also large cargoes such as auto vehicles and even minivans.

The company says that delivering cargo by reusable rockets could be a difficult mission in the short term, based on the current technologies and capacities. But that it could be a “meaningful long-term exploration,” the company stated.

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