China launches experiment satellite "TK-1"
JIUQUAN, China on Friday launched an experiment satellite, "TK-1", from northwestern Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.
The satellite, carried by the rocket "KT-2", blasted off from the launch center at 7:53 a.m. Friday, and it later entered its intended orbit.
"TK-1" is the first satellite independently developed by China Aerospace Science & Industry Corp. (CASIC) and will be used for remote sensing, telecommunications and experiments in minisatellite-based technologies.
The "KT-2" rocket is one of the five carrier systems in the CASIC commercial space plan. It features high carrying efficiency and adaptability, according to the CASIC.
New Kaituozhe-2 rocket launches experimental Chinese satellite
The Kaituozhe-2 rocket lifted off from Jiuquan in the Gobi Desert at 07:53 Friday Beijing time (23:53 UTC), carrying the Tiankun-1 satellite.
Very little was revealed about the carrier rocket or the satellite in the build up to launch, with rumoured names for both proving misleading.
Kaituozhe-2, for which Friday was the debut launch, was developed by the country's missile maker, the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC), which has a number of models of solid-fuelled launch vehicles.
Above: Kaituozhe-2 lifts off from Jiuquan just after sunrise on March 3 local time (CASIC).
The vast majority of China's space missions are launched on liquid-fuelled Long March rockets, developed by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the main contractor for the space programme.
The new, small Kaituozhe-2 rocket, likely based on an intercontinental ballistic missile, is capable of launching 250 kg to a 700 km-altitude Sun-synchronous orbit, or 350 kg to lower orbits. It is also designed for fast response time.
According to a terse statement from state news agency Xinhua, Tiankun-1 will be used for remote sensing, telecommunications and experiments in minisatellite-based technologies.
Tiankun-1 is also the first satellite independently developed by CASIC, which is apparently looking to increase its space-related activities.
Above: An illustration of the Tiankun-1 satellite platform (CASIC).
CASIC stated after launch that the satellite, work on which started in 2014, carries visible light, infrared, microwave and other remote sensing and communications payloads.
Its purposes are related to space debris observation and rapid acquisition of multi-source remote sensing information, and test related to boosting rapid response capability.