Chinese Kuaizhou 1A Rocket Fails After Launch

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

A Kuaizhou 1A rocket failed to orbit the Jilin-1 Gaofen 02C optical remote-sensing satellite after liftoff from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China on Saturday afternoon.

The official Xinhua news agency attributed the failure to the “abnormal performance” of the launch vehicle. An investigation has commenced.

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China Launches Tianwen-1 Mission to Mars

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

A Long March 5 booster roared off the launch pad from Wenchang on Thursday morning, sending an orbiter, lander and rover to Mars in China’s most ambitious robotic space mission to date.

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Ambitious Chinese Mars Mission Includes Orbiter, Rover

Tianwen-1 spacecraft (Credit: China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

In its most ambitious robotic space mission to date, China will launch an orbiter, lander and rover to Mars later this week.

A Long March 5 booster is set to launch the Tianwen-1 mission from the Wenchang spaceport on Thursday, July 23.

Tianwen-1 is the first Mars mission that China has attempted on its own. The Chinese Yinghuo-1 sub-satellite was launched aboard Russia’s Phobos-Grunt mission in November 2011. However, the ambitious mission to the martian moon never left Earth orbit.

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China’s Kuaizhou-1A Rocket Launches 2 Internet of Things Satellites

A Chinese Kuaizhou-1A rocket launched two Internet of Things (IoT) communications satellites into Earth orbit on Tuesday.

The rocket lifted off with the Xingyun-2 01 and 02 satellites from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China at 9:16 a.m. Beijing time.

The spacecraft, developed by the Xingyun Satellite Co., will test IoT applications and inter-satellite laser communications while in orbit.

Kuaizhou-1A is a low-cost, solid-fuel rocket used to launch small satellites weighing up to 300 kg (661 lb). It was developed by ExPace, a subsidiary of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp. (CASIC).

Chinese Leaders with Aerospace Backgrounds

Continuing our look at the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 Report to Congress, we present the following excerpt concerning senior Chinese government officials with aerospace and technical backgrounds.  [Full Report]

Confused by the acronyms in the table below? Parabolic Arc has added descriptions of the listed ministries and companies.


Many officials with backgrounds in the state defense complex have moved to senior government positions. While not all of these officials have backgrounds in space specifically, the result of these moves has been that senior Chinese political leaders often have a stronger technical understanding of the space sector than their foreign counterparts (see Addendum I listing key Chinese officials with aerospace sector backgrounds).

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China Conducts 2 Launches in 6 Hours From Same Spaceport

China launched two Kuaizhou-1A (KZ-1A) rockets with a total of seven satellites aboard within six hours of each other from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center on Saturday.

The first rocket placed the Jilin-1 Gaofen 02B remote sensing satellite into orbit. Plans call for an initial constellation of 60 Jilin satellites in order, with the number growing to 138 by 2030.

The second launch carried six satellites:

HEAD-2A and HEAD-2B — The first two satellites in the Skywalker Constellation, which is designed to provide environmental monitoring, emergency communications, and material supervision for ships and aircraft. The satellites belong to the HEAD Aerospace Technology Co. of Beijing.

Spacety-16 and Spacety-17 — The medium-resolution remote sensing satellites will provide agricultural, disaster, maritime and polar equipment monitoring services. They were developed by the Changsha Tianyi Space Science and Technology Research Institute Co. for Spacety Co.

Tianqi-4A and Tianqi-4B — The Internet of Things satellites will provide data transmission, emergency communications and material tracking. The spacecraft are operated by Guodian Gaoke.

Launches of the solid-fuel KZ-1A booster are managed by Expace, which is a subsidiary of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation. The rocket is used to launch small satellites.

China Making Aggressive Moves to Dominate Commercial Space Sector

China satellite launch

Continuing our look at the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 Report to Congress, we examine China’s growing commercial space industry. [Full Report]

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

China is using aggressive state-backed financing to capture increasing shares of the commercial launch and satellite markets, making it more difficult for American companies to compete and threatening to hollow out the U.S. industrial base.

China is also leverage “military-civil” fusion to create a burgeoning commercial space sector by providing substantial state support. Nearly 90 new space companies have been created since 2014, most of which enjoy the support of the Chinese military, defense industrial base, or state-owned research and development institutions.

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Kuaizhou-1A Launches for Second Time in 4 Days

China launched its second Kuaizhou-1A booster in four days on Sunday, orbiting a pair of commercial Ka-band satellites.

The launch of the KL-a-A and KL-a-B satellites took place from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China at 6 p.m. Beijing time.

The Xinhua news agency described the payloads as “global multimedia satellites” designed to test Ka-band communication technology. The Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Innovation Academy for Microsatellites built the spacecraft, which will be used by an unidentified German company.

Kuaizhou-1A is a four-stage solid fuel booster developed by a subsidiary of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation. The rocket is designed to launch micro-satellites on short notice.

China Launches 6 Satellites on 2 Rockets in 3 Hours

China conducted two launches within three hours on Wednesday, placing a commercial Earth observation satellite and five military surveillance satellites into orbit.

A four-stage Kuaizhou 1A booster lifted off with the Jilin 1 Gaofen 02A satellite at 11:40 a.m. Beijing time from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China.

The commercial imaging satellite, owned by Chang Guang Satellite Technology Co. Ltd., is designed to return high-definition video and images for civilian and military users.

The spacecraft joins 13 other Jilin-1 satellites launched by Chang Guang, which is a commercial spin-off of the Chinese Academy of Science’s Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics.

Expace, a commercial subsidiary of the state-owned China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp., manages Kuaizhou 1A launches. The booster is believed to be based on a Chinese ballistic missile.

Three hours after Kuaizhou 1 lifted off, a liquid-fuel Long March 6 booster launched from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center with five Ningxia 1 military remote sensing satellites.

The Xinhua news agency reported that the satellites “are part of a commercial satellite project invested by the Ningxia Jingui Information Technology Co., Ltd.”

China Launch Surge Left U.S., Russia Behind in 2018

Long March 2F rocket in flight carrying Shenzhou-11. (Credit: CCTV)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The year 2018 was the busiest one for launches in decades. There were a total of 111 completely successful launches out of 114 attempts. It was the highest total since 1990, when 124 launches were conducted.

China set a new record for launches in 2018. The nation launched 39 times with 38 successes in a year that saw a private Chinese company fail in the country’s first ever orbital launch attempt.

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Kuaizhou-1A Lofts Two Satellites into Orbit, 8-9 More Launches Planned for 2019

China’s Kuaizhou-1A light launcher orbited two small satellites from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on Friday in a successful commercial mission.

The solid-fuel booster launched DFH Satellite Company’s KX-09 microgravity experimental satellite and SpaceTY’s Xiaoxiang 1-07 CubeSat.

The Kuaizhou-1A booster is manufactured and launches are managed by Expace, which is a subsidiary of the state-owned China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC).

CASIS said it is planning to launch Kuaizhou-1A eight or nine more times before the end of the year. This was the booster’s first launch of 2019.

It was the fifth successful flight in five attempts for the solid-fuel Kuaizhou family of boosters, and the third success for the upgraded Kuaizhou-1A variant. The booster can place payloads weighing up to 200 kg (441 lbs) in 700 km (435 mile) high sun synchronous orbits.