China’s new carrier rocket Smart Dragon-1 (SD-1).
Credit: CCTV/Inside Outer Space Screengrab

 

China Central Television (CCTV) reports:

China’s new carrier rocket Smart Dragon-1 (SD-1), designed for commercial use, made its maiden flight on Saturday, sending three satellites into the orbit.

The rocket, developed by the China Rocket Co. Ltd. affiliated to the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALVT), blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China at 12:11 (Beijing Time).

Vital internal organs

It is the smallest and lightest among China’s solid rockets. It is 19.5 meters long with a diameter of 1.2 meters and a takeoff weight of 23.1 tons.

“The rocket is small, but it has all the vital internal organs and a carrying capacity not small at all. It can carry 200 kilograms to the Sun-synchronous orbit 500 kilometers away from the Earth. So in terms of carrying efficiency, it is the highest in our solid carrier rockets,” said Gong Min, technical manager of the SD-1 project.

One of a trio of satellites lofted by Smart Dragon-1 (SD-1).
Credit: CCTV/Inside Outer Space Screengrab

Short launch preparation

Another advantage of the rocket is the short launch preparation. According to the company, it can be turned in [made available] six months after a contract is signed, and launched within 24 hours after it is transported to the launch center.

“We plan to make another launch at the end of this year in the Jiuquan center. Next year, we are going to make perhaps five launches. All the six launches have been booked by clients,” said Tang Yagang, President of the China Rocket Co. Ltd.

This time the rocket carried three commercial satellites which are to do remote sensing, telecommunication and navigation.

For video of launch, go to:

https://youtu.be/hr6k0lTMpWI?list=PLpGTA7wMEDFjz0Zx93ifOsi92FwylSAS3

 

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