China on 9th Jan 2017 sent three satellites into space in its first commercial mission using an updated version of the low-cost Kuaizhou-1A rocket.
The rocket carried the satellite JL-1 and two CubeSats XY-S1 and Caton-1.
It blasted off from northwestern China’s Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gansu province at around 12:11 pm local time.
KZ-IA rocket was developed from the Kuaizhou-1 rocket programme with improvements in adaptability.
A low-cost solid- fuelled carrier rocket with high reliability and short preparation period, it was designed to launch low-orbit satellites weighing under 300 kg.
A rocket technology company under the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation was responsible for the launch mission.
China plans to conduct a record number of 30 space launch missions this year.
The record-breaking space launches will be launched by Long March-5 and Long March-7 rockets.
Long March-5 is China’s largest carrier rocket.
China conducted 22 launch missions in 2016 and 19 in 2015.
The country successfully tested its Long March-7 rocket in June 2016.
China plans to provide space and aviation-related services to countries involved in its ‘One Belt and One Road’ initiative.About the Three SatellitesJL-1
- Multifunctional remote-sensing satellite.
- It is providing high-definition video images
- It expected to be used for land resource and forestry surveying, environmental protection, transport and disaster prevention and relief purposes.
XY-SI and Caton-1
- Experimental satellites to test technologies.
- Characterised by low-orbit narrow-band communication and VHF Data Exchange System (VDES) respectively.