Kuaizhou-1A returns to flight with satellite test launch

(ORDO NEWS) — The Kuaizhou-1A rocket sent the Tianxing-1 satellite into orbit on Wednesday, marking a return to flight six months after the lightweight solid rocket failed.

The Kuaizhou-1A rocket launched at 02:08 UTC on June 22 from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert.

Little is known about the Tianxing-1 payload. According to Chinese space authorities and media, the satellite will be used for experiments, including “exploring the space environment.”

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

The Kuaizhou-1A rocket consists of three solid propellant stages and a liquid propellant upper stage. It is capable of launching a 200 kilogram payload into a 700 km Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO).

The rocket has already made 15 flights. The previous Kuaizhou-1A flight ended with a second failure in December 2021. The first launch took place in January 2017.

It is operated by Expace and has attracted a number of Chinese commercial customers, including remote sensing constellation operator Changguang Satellite Technology.

The mission was China’s 20th launch in 2022, with CASC alone planning more than 50 missions, including the completion of a low-orbit space station.

A number of commercial Chinese rockets, including the Kuaizhou series, are expected to add activity to Chinese launches this year.

Landspace and CAS Space are expected to make debut launches of new rockets from the Jiuquan Space Center in the near future, while Galactic Energy will begin a new series of launches of its Ceres-1 solid rocket in the second half of the year.

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