One of the world’s biggest online stores to use missiles to deliver parcels

Alibaba, missile delivery
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Alibaba promises to deliver a car anywhere in the world in a day with the ground-breaking solution. Although it may sound like an April Fools’ Day joke, Reuters and the South China Morning Post report that Alibaba-owned online marketplace Taobao and private space company Space Epoch are indeed working on a future plan to deliver orders to customers via rockets.

The unlikely plans were announced by Space Epoch on 31 March in a post on WeChat, which said that the company’s Yuanxing-1 rocket, which can be reused in multiple ways similar to SpaceX’s Falcon-9 rocket, would be used for the purpose. The rocket can carry up to ten tonnes of cargo at a time, thanks to its 120 cubic metre payload, and can even carry cars or small trucks.

As Reuters notes, the rocket’s engine was successfully fired up last year, and Space Epoch has also demonstrated the ability to return the rocket to the water platform safely. The company says in the post that it will start testing the new delivery solution in the near future, but that it will be a long-term process.

The plans have been confirmed by Alibaba, although they probably also felt that the 1 April date would make many doubt the credibility of the story. This could certainly be the reason why a company representative, speaking to the group-owned South China Morning Post, felt it important to note that “many of the major targets appear to be a joke at first glance”.

The paper notes that Alibaba has made significant logistical improvements in recent times, for example introducing five-day delivery in the US in March, which has since been extended to several countries including Germany, France and Portugal.

In fact, Alibaba’s plans are not so far removed from reality, given that Elon Musk came up with a similar idea years ago, although he would use the Starship rocket currently under development to transport people as well as cargo.


Source: reuters.com

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