China's Kuaizhou-11 rocket will send six satellites into space in 2018, greatly boosting China's competitiveness in the field of commercial rocket launches.
The solid-fuel carrier rocket is scheduled to launch for the first time in the first half of 2018, according to the rocket's developer and producer China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (CASIC), Xinhua News Agency reported.
Zhang Di, deputy head of the Fourth Academy of CASIC, told the media that sending multiple satellites into space will satisfy different users' requirements and meet commercial demand.
The launch cost of the Kuaizhou rockets has been reduced to $5,000 per kilogram of payload, which is considerably lower than its international competitors, according to Zhang.
Liang Jiqiu, chief designer of Kuaizhou rockets at CASIC, said that compared with the Kuaizhou-1A rocket, which sent three satellites into space in its first commercial mission in January 2017, the Kuaizhou-11 rocket will see a huge improvement in launch capacity, decrease costs and boost international competitiveness in commercial rocket launches.
With a lift-off mass of 78 tons, the rocket was designed to launch low-Earth and Sun-synchronous orbit satellites.
Kuaizhou is a low-cost solid-fuel carrier rocket with high reliability and a short preparation period. It has been developed since 2013.