Saturday, March 4, 2017

China Launches Tiankun-1 Experimental Satellite

The Kaituozhe-2 rocket lifting off from Jiuquan at 23:53 UTC on March 2, 2017. (Photo: CASIC)

China on Friday launched an experiment satellite named Tiankun-1 (TK-1), from northwestern Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. The satellite, carried by the the country's new solid-fueled carrier rocket Kaituozhe-2 (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.

The rocket is 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.

The vast majority of China's space missions are launched on liquid-fueled Long March rockets, developed by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the main contractor for the space program.

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