China’s Kauizhou 11 booster failed on its maiden flight on Friday, destroying two satellites and dealing a setback to the nation’s commercial launch industry.
The three-stage, solid-fuel rocket apparently failed during the latter stages of flight after lift off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. Chinese media said an investigation is under way.
Destroyed in the launch failure were the Jilin-1 video satellite and the CentiSpace-1-S2 navigation spacecraft.
Operated by Expace, the booster is a larger version of the Kauizhou 1A launcher. Kauizhou 11 is designed to launch payloads weighing 1,000 kg into sun synchronous orbit.
Expace is a commercial spin-off from the stage-owned China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation.
China has launched 19 times this year, with 16 successes and three failures. In March, the Long March 7A booster was destroyed during its maiden flight. A Long March 3B failed in flight the following month.
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).
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’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.
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.
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.