Kuaizhou (KZ, Chinese: 快舟; pinyin: kuàizhōu, meaning "speedy vessel")[1] (also called Feitian Emergency Satellite Launch System, Feitian-1, FT-1)[2][3][4] 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.[5] Kuaizhou 11, which only flew an unsuccessful maiden flight in July 2020, was a larger model able to launch a 1,500 kg (3,300 lb) payload into low Earth orbit. Heavy-lift models KZ-21 and KZ-31 are in development.[6] The Kuaizhou series of rockets is manufactured by ExPace, a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC), as their commercial launch vehicles.[7][8]

History

The rocket series is based on CASIC's Anti-satellite weapon (ASAT) and BMD mid-course interceptor rockets, in particular the DF-21 Intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) (another Chinese rocket that was based on DF-21 was the Kaituozhe-1). Development on the KZ launch vehicles started in 2009. The Kuaizhou launch vehicles were to provide an integrated launch vehicle system with the rapid ability to replace Chinese satellites that might be damaged or destroyed in an act of aggression in orbit. The vehicle uses mobile launch platform. The launch vehicle is operated by the Chinese 2nd Artillery.[7][9][5]

The maiden flight of Kuaizhou 1 launch vehicle, orbiting the Kuaizhou 1 natural disaster monitoring satellite, occurred on 25 September 2013, launched from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.[10]

Second flight of Kuaizhou 1 launch vehicle, orbiting the Kuaizhou 2 natural disaster monitoring satellite, was launched at 06:37 UTC on 21 November 2014, again from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.[5][1]

The first commercial launch inaugurated the Kuaizhou 1A version on 9 January 2017, from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. It placed three small satellites into a polar orbit.[11]

The maiden (and only) launch of Kuaizhou 11 was on 10 July 2020. The launch was a failure, and this rocket has been declared retired in April 2022.[12]

Specifications

The solid-fuel KZ-1A can place 200 kg payload into a Sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 700 kilometres. The KZ-11 version was able to put 1000 kg to the same orbit.[13]

Launch preparations are designed to take very little time, and the launch can be conducted on rough terrain.[8] The rocket's low requirements for launch help with cost savings, yielding a launch price under US$10,000 per kilogram of payload. This price level is very competitive in the international market.[9]

Satellites can be installed on a Kuaizhou launch vehicle and stored in a maintenance facility. Once needed, the launch vehicle is deployed by a Transporter erector launcher (TEL) vehicle to a secure location. Launch readiness time can be as short as several hours.[14][4]

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)[5][15][16][17] 30–32 tonnes[5] 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)[18] 300 kg (660 lb) [19] 250 kg (550 lb) (500 km)
200 kg (440 lb) (700 km)[18]
30 tonnes, TEL-capable[15] 19.4 m (64 ft)[18] 1.4 m (4 ft 7 in)[18] $20,000/kg ($9,100/lb)[20]
Kuaizhou 11
(KZ-11)
10 July 2020 [21] 2.2–2.6 m (7 ft 3 in – 8 ft 6 in)[18] 1,500 kg (3,300 lb) 1,000 kg (2,200 lb) (700 km)[18] 78 tonnes,[18] TEL-capable[15] 2.2 m (7 ft 3 in)[18] $10,000/kg ($4,500/lb)[9]
Kuaizhou 21
(KZ-21)
2025 (projected)[15] 20,000 kg (44,000 lb)[6] 4 m (13 ft)[6]
Kuaizhou 31
(KZ-31)
In development[citation needed] 70,000 kg (150,000 lb)[6] 4 m (13 ft) (engines)[6]

List of launches

Flight No. Date (UTC) Launch site Version; Flight number Payload Orbit Result
1 25 September 2013
04:37 [10]
Jiuquan, LA-4 Kuaizhou 1; F-1 Kuaizhou 1 SSO Success
2 21 November 2014
06:37 [5]
Jiuquan, LA-4 Kuaizhou 1; F-2 Kuaizhou 2 SSO Success
3 9 January 2017
04:11
Jiuquan, LA-4 Kuaizhou 1A; F-1 Jilin-1-03 SSO Success
4 29 September 2018
04:13
Jiuquan, LA-4 Kuaizhou 1A; F-2 Centispace 1-S1 SSO Success
5 30 August 2019
23:41
Jiuquan, LA-4 Kuaizhou 1A; F-3 KX-09 SSO Success
6 13 November 2019
03:40
Jiuquan, LA-4 Kuaizhou 1A; F-4 Jilin-1-02A SSO Success
7 17 November 2019
09:52 [22]
Jiuquan, LA-4 Kuaizhou 1A; F-5 KL-Alpha A and B LEO Success
8 7 December 2019
02:55 [23]
Taiyuan, Kuaizhou 1A; F-6 Jilin-1-02B SSO Success
9 7 December 2019
08:52 [23]
Taiyuan, LA-16 Kuaizhou 1A; F-7 HEAD-2 A/B, SPACETY-16/17, Tianqi-4 A/B SSO Success
10 16 January 2020
03:02 [24]
Jiuquan, LA-4 Kuaizhou 1A; F-8 Yinhe-1 LEO Success
11 12 May 2020
01:16 [25]
Jiuquan, LA-4 Kuaizhou 1A; F-9 Xingyun 2-01 and Xingyun 2-02 LEO Success
12 10 July 2020
04:17 [26]
Jiuquan, LA-4 Kuaizhou 11; F-1 Jilin-1-02E and Centispace-1-S2 SSO Failure
13 12 September 2020
05:02 [27]
Jiuquan, LA-4 Kuaizhou 1A; F-10 Jilin-1 Gaofen-02C SSO Failure
14 27 September 2021
06:19 [28]
Jiuquan, LA-4 Kuaizhou 1A; F-11 Jilin-1 Gaofen-02D SSO Success
15 27 October 2021
06:19[29][27]
Jiuquan, LA-4 Kuaizhou 1A; F-12 Jilin-1 Gaofen-02F SSO Success
16 24 November 2021
23:41[30]
Jiuquan, LA-4 Kuaizhou 1A; F-13 Shiyan-11 SSO Success
17 15 December 2021
02:00[31]
Jiuquan, LA-4 Kuaizhou 1A; F-14 GeeSAT-1A/1B LEO Failure
18 22 June 2022
02:08[32]
Jiuquan, LA-4 Kuaizhou 1A; F-15 Tianxing-1 LEO Success
19 23 August 2022
02:36[33]
Xichang Kuaizhou 1A; F-16 Chuangxin-16 A/B LEO Success
20 6 September 2022
02:24[34]
Jiuquan, LA-4 Kuaizhou 1A; F-17 Centispace 1-S3/S4 LEO Success

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. ^ "Kuaizhou-1 (KZ-1) / Fei Tian 1".
  3. ^ "Chinese Kuaizhou-1A rocket launches several small satellites". 9 January 2017.
  4. ^ a b "China Unveils New Rocket, People Get Real Curious About What It's for". 13 November 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Barbosa, Rui C. (21 November 2014). "China launches Kuaizhou-2 in second launch within 24 hours". NASASpaceFlight.com. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d e "China to test large solid-fuel rocket engine". China Daily. 25 December 2017. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  7. ^ a b Keane, Phillip (20 September 2016). "ExPace, China's Very Own SpaceX". Asian Scientist.
  8. ^ a b "First commercial space base to be built in Wuhan". SpaceDaily. 14 September 2016.
  9. ^ a b c Lin, Jeffrey; Singer, P.W. (7 October 2016). "China's Private Space Industry Prepares To Compete With SpaceX And Blue Origin". Popular Science. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  10. ^ a b "China launches satellite to monitor natural disaster". Xinhua. 25 September 2013.
  11. ^ Clark, Stephen (9 January 2017). "Kuaizhou rocket lifts off on first commercial mission". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  12. ^ China Spaceflight [@CNSpaceflight] (23 April 2022). "In a summary of "other" launch vehicles, Kuaizhou-11 of CASIC was labeled "retired". [...]" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  13. ^ Gunter's Space Page: Kuaizhou-11 (KZ-11)
  14. ^ "New rocket readies for liftoff in 2016". SpaceDaily. 10 November 2015.
  15. ^ a b c d "Kuai Zhou (Fast Vessel)". China Space Report. Archived from the original on 11 March 2018. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  16. ^ http://spaceflights.news/?launch=kuaizhou-1-•-jilin-1[dead link]
  17. ^ "TSE - Kuaizhou".
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h "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). 30 October 2017. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  19. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Kuaizhou-1A Launch". YouTube.
  20. ^ Zhou, Xin (30 October 2017). "Kuaizhou-11 to send six satellites into space". Xinhua. Archived from the original on 7 March 2018. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  21. ^ "Next Launch". twitter.com. Retrieved 10 July 2020.
  22. ^ "KL-Alpha A, KL-Alpha B Mission (Kuaizhou 1A) - RocketLaunch.Live".
  23. ^ a b Barbosa, Rui C. (7 December 2019). "China conducts double Kuaizhou-1A launch from Taiyuan". NASASpaceFlight.com. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  24. ^ Barbosa, Rui C. (16 January 2020). "Kuaizhou-1A lofts Yinhe-1 for China". NASASpaceFlight.com. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  25. ^ "First two smallsats launched for Chinese data relay constellation". Spaceflight Now. 12 May 2011. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  26. ^ "New Chinese satellite launcher fails on first flight". spaceflightnow.com. Spaceflight Now. 10 July 2020. Retrieved 10 July 2020.
  27. ^ a b Clark, Stephen (13 September 2020). "Chinese smallsat launcher fails". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
  28. ^ Corbett, Tobias (27 September 2021). "Chinese KZ-1A returns to flight and lofts new remote sensing satellite into orbit". NASASpaceFlight.com. Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  29. ^ "【TBD】快舟一号甲 • 吉林一号遥感卫星星座 • 高分02-F星 • Kuaizhou-1A • Jinlin-1(Gaofen02-F)". spaceflightfans.cn (in Chinese). 14 February 2021. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  30. ^ "我国成功发射试验十一号卫星" [Our country successfully launched the Shiyan-11 satellite]. Xinhua (in Chinese). 25 November 2021. Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  31. ^ "Launch of GeeSAT commercial satellites fails". Xinhua. 25 November 2021. Retrieved 15 December 2021.
  32. ^ "China launches new test satellite". Xinhua. 22 June 2022. Retrieved 22 June 2022.
  33. ^ Davenport, Justin (24 August 2022). "Kuaizhou-1A, Chang Zheng 2D launches highlight busy China week in spaceflight". NASASpaceFlight. Retrieved 25 August 2022.
  34. ^ Davenport, Justin (6 September 2022). "China launches twice in under two hours and conducts spacewalk". NASASpaceFlight. Retrieved 6 September 2022.