Kuaizhou-1A returns to flight with test satellite launch

HELSINKI (AP) — A Kuaizhou-1A rocket launched the Tianxing-1 satellite into orbit Tuesday night, marking a return to flight six months after the solid-light launcher suffered a failure.

The Kuaizhou-1A lifted off from a transport mount launcher at 22:08 ET on June 21 (0208 UTC on June 22) from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert.

Little is known about the Tianxing-1 payload. The satellite is set to be used for experiments including “space environment detection,” according to Chinese space authorities and media.

Tianxing-1 was developed by the Institute of Mechanics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

The Kuaizhou-1A consists of three solid stages and a liquid propellant upper stage. It is capable of carrying 200 kilograms of payload in a 700-kilometre solar synchronous orbit (SSO).

The rocket has already flown 15 times. The Kuaizhou-1A’s previous flight ended with the rocket second failure in December 2021. The first launch took place in January 2017.

The launcher is operated by Expace and has attracted a number of Chinese business customers. included remote sensing constellation operator Changguang Satellite Technology.

Giant state-owned missile and defense contractor China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) is Expace’s parent company.

CASIC is a separate entity from the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC). CASC is the country’s leading space contractor and operator of the Long March rockets.

CASIC and its subsidiaries plan an 80-satellite narrowband constellation called Xingyun. Plans to launch at least 12 Xingyun-2 satellites in 2022 to form the second stage of the three-stage constellation that had been announced before the December 2021 failure.

Similar plans were set in 2020 for the launch of 12 Xingyun satellites in 2021. The KZ-1A then suffered its first failure in September 2020.

Tuesday’s mission was China’s 20th launch of 2022, with CASC alone targeting more than 50 missionsincluding the completion of the country’s low-Earth orbit space station.

Several Chinese commercial rockets are expected to join China’s launch activity this year, including the Kuaizhou series.

landing space Y CAS space are expected to launch new rockets from Jiuquan in the near future, while Galactic Energy will begin a new series of launches from its Ceres-1 solid rocket in the second half of the year.

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