China’s first commercial carrier rocket departs the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, northwest China.
Credit: CCTV-Plus

China has successfully launched its first commercial carrier rocket – the Kuaizhou-1A (KZ-1A) (“Fast Vessel”) – sending a trio of satellites into orbit.

The January 9th flight of the solid-fuel launcher took place at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, northwest China.

Short launch prep

“Today’s launch was its maiden voyage. It is a low-cost carrier rocket with short pre-launch preparation and is capable of delivering its 300-kilogram payload to the near-Earth orbit,” said Zhang Di, vice-president of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) Fourth Academy in a CCTV-Plus report.

Zhang said that the three spacecraft in one liftoff comprised the JL-1-03, a smart video satellite, while XY-S1 and Caton-1 are both CubeSats weighing between two and three kilograms.

Satellite duties

According to CCTV-Plus, the JL-1 is capable of providing high-definition video images useful for land resources and forestry surveying, environmental protection, transport and disaster prevention and relief purposes.

The XY-S1 and Caton-1 satellites are experimental satellites to test technologies of low-orbit narrow-band communication and VHF Data Exchange System (VDES), respectively.

The XY-S1 and Caton-1 satellites are experimental satellites to test technologies of low-orbit narrow-band communication and VHF Data Exchange System (VDES) respectively.

Eyeing the market

A rocket technology company under the CASIC is responsible for Monday’s launch mission.

According to a CASIC statement, the success of the mission marks the company’s capability of providing flexible, convenient, quick-to-launch and economical launch vehicles for domestic and overseas clients.

To view the CCTV-Plus video noting the launch, go to:

http://l3-pv.news.cctvplus.com/2017/0109/8040476_Preview_1483967496658.mp4

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