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Kuaizhou 1A launches satellites into orbit
File image of a Kuaizhou 1A launch at China's Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the country's northwestern desert.
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Kuaizhou 1A launches satellites into orbit
by Simon Mansfield
Sydney, Australia (SPX) Jul 25, 2023

China's state-owned China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (CASIC) successfully launched a Kuaizhou 1A carrier rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, located in China's northwestern desert, on Thursday morning. The mission's primary objective was to place four new weather satellites into orbit, enhancing the country's atmospheric data collection capabilities.

The Kuaizhou 1A, a 20-meter solid-propellant rocket, lifted off at 11:20 am, marking its 21st flight and third launch this year. With a liftoff weight of approximately 30 metric tons, the Kuaizhou 1A is capable of delivering payloads of up to 200 kilograms into a sun-synchronous orbit and 300 kilograms into a low-Earth orbit. It was built by China Space Sanjiang Group in Hubei province, a subsidiary of CASIC.

The four satellites, designated Tianmu 07, 08, 09, and 10, successfully reached their designated orbits. Their primary function is to gather detailed atmospheric data. All these satellites are part of the broader Tianmu-series, which now counts 10 satellites launched by the Kuaizhou 1A carrier rockets. CASIC, the developer of these satellites, has confirmed plans to launch more in the upcoming period.

The Tianmu-series satellite network aims to provide comprehensive, multi-dimensional surveys of oceans and the atmosphere once fully deployed. This satellite constellation will significantly enhance China's capabilities in meteorology, climate studies, and other related fields. However, the complete timeline for this network's deployment is not currently specified.

Alongside its sibling, the Kuaizhou 11, a larger variant, the Kuaizhou 1A rocket is one of the most frequently used solid-propellant rockets within China's burgeoning space program. According to the rocket's designers, the Kuaizhou 1A and 11 offer a blend of high reliability, precision, streamlined pre-launch preparation, and cost-effectiveness, making them particularly suitable for this sort of mission.

The successful launch of the Tianmu 07, 08, 09, and 10 satellites represents yet another milestone for China's space program. With their integration into the expanding Tianmu-series network, China looks set to continue advancing its capabilities in the realm of atmospheric data collection and analysis.

Source: Xinhua News Agency

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