China launches a Kuaizhou 1A carrier rocket at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the country's northwestern desert, placing an experimental communications satellite in orbit, June 9, 2023. (Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn)
China launched a Kuaizhou 1A carrier rocket on Friday morning at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the country's northwestern desert, placing an experimental communications satellite in orbit, according to China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp.
The State-owned company said in a news release that the solid-propellant rocket blasted off at 10:35 am from its launch vehicle and placed the Longjiang 3 satellite into its preset orbit. The mission marked the 20th flight of the Kuaizhou 1A model and the type's second launch this year.
Developed by researchers at the Harbin Institute of Technology in Heilongjiang province, the Longjiang 3 is China's first plate-shaped satellite. It is tasked with demonstrating advanced technologies in space-based high-speed communications and plate-shaped satellite platform, according to the release.
Built by China Space Sanjiang Group in Hubei province, a CASIC subsidiary, the 20-meter Kuaizhou 1A rocket has a liftoff weight of about 30 metric tons. It is capable of sending 200 kilogram of payload into a sun-synchronous orbit, or 300 kg of payload into a low-Earth orbit, according to designers.
The Kuaizhou 1A and Kuaizhou 11, a larger type, are the most used solid-propellant rockets in China.