HELSINKI — A Chinese commercial Kuaizhou-1A rocket sold for $5.6 million in a live streamed auction hosted by e-commerce platform Taobao Wednesday.
Chinese launch service provider Expace combined with Taobao for the April Fool’s Day stunt. 800 people placed a 500,000 yuan down payment inside five minutes, according to CGTN.
Cao Meng of Expace introduced the Kuaizhou-1A (KZ-1A) service, including launch, custom rocket body art, and access to the launch site. The winning bid was 40 million yuan, with the bidder’s identity not revealed.
The Chinese rocket auction was followed by over two million viewers, and the topic was read over 500 million times on social media platform Sina Weibo as of Friday. Taobao and private Chinese launch firm Landspace jointly promoted a rocket-based postal delivery system on April 1, 2019.
Expace, established in 2016, operates the Kuaizhou-1A. Expace is a commercial subsidiary of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC), a giant defense contractor and missile maker.
Kuaizhou launchers are understood to be derived from missile technology. The KZ-1A consists of three solid stages and a liquid propellant upper stage. It is capable of delivering a 200-kilogram payload into a 700-kilometer sun-synchronous orbit (SSO).
KZ-1A rockets have launched ...