Featured Image: Launch of Kuaizhou-1A solid rocket booster with Yinhe-1 satellite. (Image Credit: CASIC)
JIUQUAN SATELLITE LAUNCH CENTER, CHINA – On Jan 15, China conducted their third launch of 2020 and second launch in under 48 hours, when they launched a Kuaizhou-1A solid rocket carrying the Yinhe-1 technology satellite. This satellite is a technology verification satellite for Galaxy Space. The satellite is expected to test Q/V and Ka band communications which could reach speeds of 10 gbps. this is the final test before they begin launching their planned 144 satellite constellation. This constellation will bring global 5G satellite communications.If this demonstrator is successful, they will launch 144 satellites over a three year period.
The Kuaizhou-1A solid booster is a military-derived, three-stage solid rocket booster with a liquid propellant upper stage. The boosters are launched by Expace, a commercial subsidiary of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC), which is a giant conglomerate defense contractor and missile maker. Kuaizhou-1A is restricted to commercial payloads and launches only to sun-synchronous low-earth orbits. They payload limit for these launches is about 200kg.
China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the prime military and government launch provider in China, has its own vehicles in the same class, with the Long March 11 booster fulfilling those needs for government payloads.