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Kuaizhou

Kuaizhou (KZ, Chinese: 快舟; pinyin: kuàizhōu, meaning "speedy vessel")[1] is a family of Chinese "quick-reaction" orbital launch vehicles. Flying since 2013, Kuaizhou 1 and 1A consist of three solid-fueled rocket stages, with a liquid-fueled fourth stage as part of the satellite system.[2] Kuaizhou 11, introduced in 2018, is a larger model capable to launch a 1,500-kilogram (3,300 lb) payload into low Earth orbit. Heavy-lift models KZ-21 and KZ-31 are in development.[3] The Kuaizhou series of rockets is manufactured by ExPace, a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC), as their commercial launch vehicles.[4][5]

History

The rocket series is based on CASIC's ASAT and BMD mid-course interceptor rockets. Development on the KZ rockets started in 2009.[4][6]

The maiden flight of Kuaizhou 1 occurred on 25 September 2013, launched from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.[7]

Kuaizhou 2 was launched at 06:37 GMT on 21 November 2014, again from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.[2][1]

The first commercial launch inaugurated the Kuaizhou 1A version on 9 January 2017, from Jiuquan. It placed three small satellites into a polar orbit.[8]

Specifications

The solid-fuel KZ-1A can place a 1-metric-ton payload into a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 700 kilometers. Launch preparations are designed to take very little time, and the launch can be conducted on rough terrain.[5]

The rocket's low requirements for launch help with cost savings, yielding a launch price under $10,000 per kilogram of payload. This price level is very competitive in the international market.[6]

Satellites can be installed on a Kuaizhou rocket and stored in a maintenance facility. Once needed, the rocket is deployed by a transporter-erector-launcher vehicle (TEL) to a secure location. Launch readiness time can be as short as several hours.[9]

Models

Rocket First launch Payload fairing size Payload to LEO Payload to SSO Lift-off mass Length Diameter Thrust Payload cost
Kuaizhou 1
(KZ-1)
25 September 2013 430 kg (950 lb) (500 km)[2] [10][11][12] 30–32 tonnes[2] 19.4 m (64 ft) 1.4 m (4 ft 7 in)
Kuaizhou 1A
(KZ-1A)
9 January 2017 (UTC) 1.2–1.4 m (3 ft 11 in–4 ft 7 in)[13] 300 kg (660 lb) [14] 250 kg (550 lb) (500 km)
200 kg (440 lb) (700 km)[13]
30 tonnes, TEL-capable[10] 19.4 m (64 ft)[13] 1.4 m (4 ft 7 in)[13] $20,000/kg ($9,100/lb)[15]
Kuaizhou 11
(KZ-11)
2018 (planned)[13] 2.2–2.6 m (7 ft 3 in–8 ft 6 in)[13] 1,500 kg (3,300 lb) 1,000 kg (2,200 lb) (700 km)[13] 78 tonnes,[13] TEL-capable[10] 2.2 m (7 ft 3 in)[13] $10,000/kg ($4,500/lb)[6]
Kuaizhou 21
(KZ-21)
2025 (projected)[10] 20,000 kg (44,000 lb)[3] 4 m (13 ft)[3]
Kuaizhou 31
(KZ-31)
In development 70,000 kg (150,000 lb)[3] 4 m (13 ft) (engines)[3]

List of launches

Flight № Date (UTC) Launch site Version Payload Orbit Result
1 September 25, 2013
04:37[7]
Jiuquan LA-4 Kuaizhou 1 Kuaizhou 1 SSO Success
2 November 21, 2014
06:37[2]
Jiuquan LA-4 Kuaizhou 1 Kuaizhou 2 SSO Success
3 January 9, 2017
04:11
Jiuquan LA-4 Kuaizhou 1A Jilin-1-03 SSO Success
4 Q1, 2018 Jiuquan LA-4 Kuaizhou 1A Jilin-1 09–12 SSO Planned
5 2018 Kuaizhou 11 6 small satellites[15] SSO Planned

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Clark, Stephen (21 November 2014). "China launches for the second time in 24 hours". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 22 November 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Barbosa, Rui C. (November 21, 2014). "China launches Kuaizhou-2 in second launch within 24 hours". NASASpaceFlight.com. Retrieved March 10, 2018. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "China to test large solid-fuel rocket engine". China Daily. December 25, 2017. Retrieved March 10, 2018. 
  4. ^ a b Keane, Phillip (20 September 2016). "ExPace, China's Very Own SpaceX". Asian Scientist. 
  5. ^ a b "First commercial space base to be built in Wuhan". SpaceDaily. 14 September 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c Lin, Jeffrey; Singer, P.W. (October 7, 2016). "China's Private Space Industry Prepares To Compete With SpaceX And Blue Origin". Popular Science. Retrieved March 10, 2018. 
  7. ^ a b "China launches satellite to monitor natural disaster". Xinhua. September 25, 2013. 
  8. ^ Clark, Stephen (9 January 2017). "Kuaizhou rocket lifts off on first commercial mission". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 9 January 2017. 
  9. ^ "New rocket readies for liftoff in 2016". SpaceDaily. 10 November 2015. 
  10. ^ a b c d "Kuai Zhou (Fast Vessel)". China Space Report. Retrieved March 10, 2018. 
  11. ^ [spaceflights.news]
  12. ^ [www.tbs-satellite.com]
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i "快舟十一号小型固体运载火箭(KZ-11):推迟到2018年首飞" [Kuaizhou 11 small solid launch vehicle (KZ-11): First flight planned for 2018] (in Chinese). October 30, 2017. Retrieved March 10, 2018. 
  14. ^ [www.youtube.com]
  15. ^ a b Zhou, Xin (30 October 2017). "Kuaizhou-11 to send six satellites into space". Xinhua. Retrieved 10 March 2018.