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‘Private’ firm offers China containerized Space Launch Vehicles; ICBMs next?

A One Space military transporter erector launcher appeared in March 2020, indicating the company’s willingness to support military missions.
FPI / October 8, 2021


By Richard Fisher

Threat and proliferation analysts skipped a heartbeat in April 2010 when a Russian company revealed that they had placed Novator Club long-range land attack and anti-ship cruise missiles in an average maritime shipping container, conceivably turning countless thousands of container cargo ships, flatbed railroad cars and flatbed tractor-trailer trucks into deadly missile attack platforms.

This concept has been repeated by Chinese missile companies like the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation and Norinco to launch short range ballistic missiles (SRBM) and artillery rockets.

Israeli Aircraft Industries offers a container carrier-launcher for its LORA SRBM while the American Kratos Defense Company intends to launch its fighter-size XQ-58 unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) from a shipping container.

But now the new “private” Chinese company One Space is “supersizing” this concept, offering much larger containerized space launch vehicles (SLVs) that can be shipped by large Boeing 747 cargo aircraft, or launched from large containers aboard cargo ships, or placed on large railroad beds or towed by tractor-trailer trucks.

One Space revealed this containerized SLV in a video released just before the 2021 Zhuhai Airshow.

The video shows how One Space intends to put a future large solid-fueled SLV into a large shipping container and shows the container launching its SLV from railroad flatbed, a truck-towed container and then launching from aboard a large cargo ship.

Founded in 2015, the launch of its OS-M1 solid fuel SLV from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in March 2019 failed to put its payload in orbit. This OS-M1 is capable of placing a 205kg payload in orbit.

However, One Space has ambitions to build larger 58-ton SLVs, which would be the same weight as the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation’s (CASC) Long March-11 solid fuel SLV. This SLV can put a 700kg payload in orbit.

One Space is also reportedly interested in developing a manned space launch vehicle.

But the military implications of One Space selling large containerized SLVs that could serve military missions like launching military satellites, or even performing attack missions is valid on two levels.

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