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Alibaba wants to deliver packages in one hour… using space rockets

Receiving the latest iPhone or an OLED TV via a space rocket for some science fiction... right?

Alibaba wants to deliver packages in one hour… using space rockets
Chema Carvajal Sarabia

Chema Carvajal Sarabia

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The Beijing-based startup Space Epoch used its WeChat account to confirm that the plan to launch rockets is true, detailing the 120 m3 cargo cabin mounted on its Yuanxingzhe 1 rocket.

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Taobao has confirmed that the alliance is real, despite the fact that the publication by Space Epoch occurred just a few hours before April 1st, also known as April Fool’s Day.

The Yuanxingzhe 1 has not yet flown, but its liquid fuel engine has been tested and Space Epoch has simulated the recovery of the reusable spacecraft after a water landing. The spacecraft has a diameter of four meters and a payload capacity of ten metric tons.

An animation in the WeChat post by Space Epoch shows a package being loaded onto a conveyor belt and inserted into a rocket, which takes off, reaches space, and takes about 25 minutes to travel from the east coast of China to a location that appears to be the city of Urumqi, in the northwestern province of Xinjiang.

The rocket lands in a silo, with its cargo compartment located at the same level as a conveyor belt. The cargo is emptied, placed into a van, and delivered to a happy customer.

Is this true or a heavy joke?

Everything seems like a fantasy day. The rockets are carefully loaded to ensure their stability in flight and take days to prepare for launch. The idea that rockets are available to launch packages at will is exciting, but it is not real.

Space Epoch claims that their rocket can also carry a payload the size of a car. That makes more sense, as the arrangement and weight distribution of vehicles are well known, unlike a collection of packages and such.

The prices also do not appear in the Space Epoch post. The Register used SpaceX’s cost-sharing calculator – which Elon Musk’s launch company offers to those who want to launch a small satellite – to make an estimate, and it yielded a fee of $4.99 million for its maximum possible payload of 831 kg.

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That is many multiples of the price even of the most exclusive cars. It gives us chills to think about the price of the insurance in addition to the launch fee.

What makes this seem like a trick. Especially considering that the drone delivery, which Amazon announced with great fanfare in 2013, has not yet become widespread.

Chema Carvajal Sarabia

Chema Carvajal Sarabia

Journalist specialized in technology, entertainment and video games. Writing about what I'm passionate about (gadgets, games and movies) allows me to stay sane and wake up with a smile on my face when the alarm clock goes off. PS: this is not true 100% of the time.

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