Alibaba Exploring How to Deliver Cheap Plastic Garbage Via Space Rocket | Technology

Alibaba Deliver Space Rocket.jpg

Wait, are they serious?

Specious Delivery

Chinese rocket maker Space Epoch has announced a partnership with e-commerce platform and Alibaba-owned landfill generator Taobao to make deliveries via rocket around the world in just one hour — and to be entirely honest, the concept is so outlandish that we can’t quite tell if it’s an early April Fool’s joke.

The announcement, posted to Chinese social media platform WeChat on March 31, details a new rocket dubbed “Yuanxing-1” that’s designed to launch up to ten tons of cargo inside a 120 cubic meter container into orbit.

An animation shows a package being loaded into a rocket and shooting into space and then back down, spending just 25 minutes to traverse all of China before its cargo is emptied into a waiting van.

It’s vaguely reminiscent of SpaceX’s much-larger and more capable Starship. The US Air Force is hoping to make use of the launch platform to ferry cargo across the globe as well.

But whether it’s feasible, let alone economically viable, to make global rocket deliveries — especially if we’re talking about the bottom-shelf cheap plastic junk that Alibaba’s known for selling in huge quantities — remains dubious at best.

Space Junk

Space Epoch’s rocket has already completed early ignition and offshore recovery tests last year, Reuters reports. But getting to the point of making global deliveries for Alibaba will still require a number of major breakthroughs, effectively leapfrogging SpaceX’s established tech.

To pick one glaring example, no Chinese entity has yet pulled off the Elon Musk-led company’s party trick of landing one of its rockets after launch.

At the same…

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