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Kuaizhou-11 rocket

Date: 14 July 2020 Tags: Space

Issue

China’s 19th launch of 2020, the Kuaizhou-11 rocket, failed in its. Both the satellites it was carrying were lost.

 

Background

Kuaizhou, meaning “fast ship” in Chinese, was operated by the commercial launch firm Space and was originally scheduled for 2018 after being developed three years earlier.

 

Details

  • Also known as KZ-11, it had a lift-off mass of 70.8 tonnes, and was designed to launch low-Earth and Sun-synchronous orbit satellites.

  • It was carrying two satellites — the first being a remote sensing satellite that would provide data to clients on a commercial basis for forecasting and managing geological disasters.

  • It would also provide the information required for natural resource exploration. The second was part of a series of satellites for low-Earth orbit navigation.

  • Both satellites were built by Changguang Satellite Co. Ltd., a commercial entity born out of the state-owned Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics, and Physics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

  • Commercial launches are an emerging industry in China. Companies such as Expace, iSpace, and Landspace, created after the Chinese government opened its space sector to private investment in 2014, have cut down traditional launch operations and are developing rapid response capabilities.

  • Since the start of 2020, there have been 19 launches from China, three of which have failed (including Kuaizhou-11). The 18th launch, which took place a day before, sent into space the APSTAR-6D telecommunications satellite.

  • APSTAR-6D is expected to last about 15 years in space in geostationary orbit, as part of a broadband satellite communications system serving the Asia-Pacific region.

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