A Kuaizhou 1A carrier rocket was launched by China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, sending four meteorological satellites into orbit. The solid-propellant rocket took off at 5:09 pm and carried four satellites in the Tianmu 1 meteorological observation network into their preset orbits.
The Kuaizhou 1A rocket is indigenously developed by China Space Sanjiang Group in Hubei province, a subsidiary of CASIC. Weighing about 30 metric tons, the rocket is capable of sending 200 kilograms of payload into a sun-synchronous orbit, or 300 kg of payload into a low-Earth orbit, according to CASIC.
The four meteorological satellites will survey atmospheric and environmental elements around the globe, as stated in the release. This will be the 12th rocket launch that China has executed in 2023, signaling its increasing space activities.
Kuaizhou 1A is a small-lift launch vehicle designed to send small-sats satellites into low-Earth orbit, much like Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle. The Kuaizhou 1A is a four-stage rocket, with the first three stages using solid fuel and only the last stage using liquid fuel.