China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation said China launched a Kuaizhou 1A (KZ-1A) carrier rocket on Monday afternoon to place a high-resolution Earth-observation satellite into orbit.
In a statement obtained by China Daily, the state-owned space contractor said that the solid-propellant rocket launched at 2:19 am EDT (2:19 pm local time) from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northern China. It was quickly deploying the satellite - Jilin-1 Gaofen-02D - into its planned orbit. The Kuaizhou 1A flew for the 11th time on this trip.
Some people already predicted the launch after issuing airspace closure notifications, SpaceNews said. The footage circulating on Chinese social media and Twitter immediately after liftoff appeared to confirm it.
However, CASC nor official media have confirmed the launch's success or failure. Successes and failures of Chinese launches are usually publicized immediately after confirmation. The cargo of the flight is likewise unclear.
Sightings of an object above New South Wales, Australia, were most likely a burn of the upper stage of the Long March 3B, showing that the launch was still on track.
In contrast to the Long March series, which uses mostly liquid fuel, Kuaizhou is China's largest solid-propellant rocket family.
The liftoff weight of the 20-meter Kuaizhou 1A is around 30 metric tons. According to CASIC, it can deliver 200 kilograms of cargo into a sun-synchronous orbit or 300 kilos into a low-Earth orbit.
The rocket has sent 20 satellites into orbit since its first flight in January 2017.
Chinese Kuaizhou 1A Brings New Remote Sensing Satellite Into Orbit
NASASpaceFlight said ExPace Technology Corporation, a Chinese government-owned aerospace firm located in Wuhan, Hubei Province, manufactures China's KZ-1A rocket. Because the rocket can transport payloads up to 200 kg into a Sun-Synchronous Orbit, it is primarily promoted as a small satellite launch vehicle.
ExPace is also responsible for the launch like it has been for all previous flights of the KZ-1A vehicle.
The rocket's four stages, the first three of which are solid-fueled, span 20 meters. The first solid fuel stage has a 65-second burn duration and a 2,352 N/kg impulse. The second stage ignites for 62 seconds with a 2,810 N/kg impulse, followed by a 55-second third stage burn with a 2,850 N/kg impulse.
The orbital insertion stage, which is powered by a liquid-fueled engine, is the fourth and final stage.
The most recent flight of a KZ-1A, which was supposed to send the Jilin-1 Gaofen-02C satellite into orbit, failed when the launch vehicle displayed "abnormal performance," causing the payload to fail to enter its pre-set orbit. Following an examination into the reason of last year's flight failure, today's launch marks a return to flying.
The 250-kilogram (551-pound) Jilin-1 Gaofen-02D satellite, launched today, is the fifth in the Jilin-1 Gaofen-2 group of remote sensing satellites. Following the failures of the previously stated Goafen-02C launch last September and the unsuccessful launch of Gaofen-02E in July of the same year, it is the third to successfully reach orbit.
Chang Guang Satellite Technology Corporation, which specializes in designing and operating commercial remote sensing satellites, created and built the Gaofen-2 family of spacecraft.
The spacecraft is expected to operate at the height of 535 kilometers (332.4 miles) above Earth's surface and be capable of capturing a static push-scan image with a full-color resolution of 0.76 meters and a multi-spectral resolution of 3.1 meters. Digital transmission at a rate of 1.8Gbps is used to send images to the ground stations.
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