A Chinese Kuaizhou-1A rocket launched two Internet of Things (IoT) communications satellites into Earth orbit on Tuesday.
The rocket lifted off with the Xingyun-2 01 and 02 satellites from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China at 9:16 a.m. Beijing time.
The spacecraft, developed by the Xingyun Satellite Co., will test IoT applications and inter-satellite laser communications while in orbit.
Kuaizhou-1A is a low-cost, solid-fuel rocket used to launch small satellites weighing up to 300 kg (661 lb). It was developed by ExPace, a subsidiary of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp. (CASIC).
Continuing our look at the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 Report to Congress, we present the following excerpt concerning senior Chinese government officials with aerospace and technical backgrounds. [Full Report]
Confused by the acronyms in the table below? Parabolic Arc has added descriptions of the listed ministries and companies.
Many officials with backgrounds in the state defense complex have moved to senior government positions. While not all of these officials have backgrounds in space specifically, the result of these moves has been that senior Chinese political leaders often have a stronger technical understanding of the space sector than their foreign counterparts (see Addendum I listing key Chinese officials with aerospace sector backgrounds).
China launched two Kuaizhou-1A (KZ-1A) rockets with a total of seven satellites aboard within six hours of each other from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center on Saturday.
The first rocket placed the Jilin-1 Gaofen 02B remote sensing satellite into orbit. Plans call for an initial constellation of 60 Jilin satellites in order, with the number growing to 138 by 2030.
The second launch carried six satellites:
HEAD-2A and HEAD-2B — The first two satellites in the Skywalker Constellation, which is designed to provide environmental monitoring, emergency communications, and material supervision for ships and aircraft. The satellites belong to the HEAD Aerospace Technology Co. of Beijing.
Spacety-16 and Spacety-17 — The medium-resolution remote sensing satellites will provide agricultural, disaster, maritime and polar equipment monitoring services. They were developed by the Changsha Tianyi Space Science and Technology Research Institute Co. for Spacety Co.
Tianqi-4A and Tianqi-4B — The Internet of Things satellites will provide data transmission, emergency communications and material tracking. The spacecraft are operated by Guodian Gaoke.
Launches of the solid-fuel KZ-1A booster are managed by Expace, which is a subsidiary of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation. The rocket is used to launch small satellites.
Continuing our look at the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 Report to Congress, we examine China’s growing commercial space industry. [Full Report]
by Douglas Messier Managing Editor
China is using aggressive state-backed financing to capture increasing shares of the commercial launch and satellite markets, making it more difficult for American companies to compete and threatening to hollow out the U.S. industrial base.
China is also leverage “military-civil” fusion to create a burgeoning commercial space sector by providing substantial state support. Nearly 90 new space companies have been created since 2014, most of which enjoy the support of the Chinese military, defense industrial base, or state-owned research and development institutions.
China launched its second Kuaizhou-1A booster in four days on Sunday, orbiting a pair of commercial Ka-band satellites.
The launch of the KL-a-A and KL-a-B satellites took place from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China at 6 p.m. Beijing time.
The Xinhua news agency described the payloads as “global multimedia satellites” designed to test Ka-band communication technology. The Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Innovation Academy for Microsatellites built the spacecraft, which will be used by an unidentified German company.
Kuaizhou-1A is a four-stage solid fuel booster developed by a subsidiary of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation. The rocket is designed to launch micro-satellites on short notice.
China’s Kuaizhou-1A light launcher orbited two small satellites from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on Friday in a successful commercial mission.
The solid-fuel booster launched DFH Satellite Company’s KX-09 microgravity experimental satellite and SpaceTY’s Xiaoxiang 1-07 CubeSat.
The Kuaizhou-1A booster is manufactured and launches are managed by Expace, which is a subsidiary of the state-owned China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC).
CASIS said it is planning to launch Kuaizhou-1A eight or nine more times before the end of the year. This was the booster’s first launch of 2019.
It was the fifth successful flight in five attempts for the solid-fuel Kuaizhou family of boosters, and the third success for the upgraded Kuaizhou-1A variant. The booster can place payloads weighing up to 200 kg (441 lbs) in 700 km (435 mile) high sun synchronous orbits.
Jeff Bezos’ Amazon has jumped into a crowded field of companies seeking to provide high-speed broadband, data and other communications services to the entire globe.
Amazon’s Kuiper constellation of 3,236 satellites brings the total number of spacecraft in the 16 announced systems to 20,241 spacecraft. The competition includes SpaceX, Boeing, Telesat, SES and government-backed companies in China and Russia.
China conducted its 39th launch of the year on Saturday with a successful flight from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.
A Long March 2D rocket lifted off with the Hongyan-1 satellite aboard. It is the first spacecraft of a planned 300+ satellite constellation designed to provide global Internet service in the L- and Ka- bands.
The constellation is being developed by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).
The booster also launched six Yunhai-2 satellites that will be used to study the atmosphere.
The launch came less than a week after the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corpopration (CASIC) launched the first Hongyun-1 satellite aboard a Long March 11 booster. Hongyun-1 is the first of a planned 156-satellite constellation designed to provide global communications beginning around 2022.
China’s 39 launches was the highest number ever for the nation. The country suffered one failure when the maiden launch of Zhuque-1 booster — developed by private startup Landspace — suffered a failure of its third stage.
The United States came in second place with 34 launches in 2018.
China plans to launch a test satellite for a global communications constellation by the end of this year.
The Hongyun project, launched by CASIC in September 2016, has the goal of building a space-based communications network of 156 small satellites in orbit about 1,000 kilometers above the Earth. It would become operational about 2022.
Researchers are designing the Hongyun satellite and will finish the design this year, Zhang said.
After the technology demonstration satellite, the academy will lift four Hongyun satellites by the end of 2020 to form a small network for the project’s trial run, according to Zhang. He said once the trial run proves successful, CASIC will start to launch the Hongyun satellites to establish a global constellation.
When the Hongyun project is complete, it will cover the whole world and offer round-the-clock communication services to users in polar regions, who now have difficulties accessing telecommunication and internet services, Zhang said.
China conducted its first launch of 2018 on Tuesday when a Long March 2D booster lofted a pair of SuperView imaging satellites into polar orbit for Beijing Space View Technology. The rocket lifted off from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center.
“Success! We’re thrilled to announce the successful launch of SuperView-1 03&04 satellites at 11:26 this morning in Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center!” the company tweeted.
The launch doubled the number of high-resolution SuperView satellites the company has on orbit. It plans to sell imagery on the global market.
GBTimesreports China could launch more than 40 times in 2018, which would be a substantial increase over the 18 launches the nation conducted last year.
The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), announced at a conference on January 2 that its 2018 work model includes 35 launches, underlining the return to flight of the heavy-lift Long March 5 rocket, the Chang’e-4 lunar far side mission and launches of Beidou navigation satellites as the major activities.
In addition CASIC, a defence contractor, missile maker and sister company of CASC, will carry out a number of missions through its subsidiary EXPACE, including launching four Kuaizhou-1A rockets within one week and the maiden flight of the larger Kuaizhou-11.
Landspace Technology, a Beijing-based private aerospace company, is also expected to debut its LandSpace-1 solid propellant rocket this year.
The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) announced last week that it plans to launch a reusable space plane capable of taking off and landing on a runway around the year 2020.
Unlike traditional one-off spacecraft, the new spacecraft will fly into the sky like an aircraft, said Chen Hongbo, a researcher from the corporation. The spacecraft can transport people or payload into the orbit and return to Earth.
China introduced a new commercial rocket this week aimed at the small satellite market with the successful launch of three satellites.
The solid fuel Kuaizhou 1A rocket lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on Monday. It carried the JL-1 commercial Earth observation satellite and two experimental CubeSats named Canton-1 and XS-Y1, according to the official Xinhau news agency.
It was the third flight for the Kuaizhou booster, but the first commercial launch under Expace, which is a commercial subsidiary of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation.
Kuaizhou 1A is capable of lifting up to 200 ( 441 lb) into sun synchronous orbit and 300 kg (661 lb) into low Earth orbit. Expace is targeting the booster at the booming small satellite market.