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08 June 2023, 10:53

Rocket successfully carries 26 satellites into space

BEIJING, 8 June (BelTA - China Daily). - China has launched a ZK 1A carrier rocket at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China to transport a total of 26 satellites into space, setting a new record for the most spacecraft launched by a single Chinese rocket.

The 30-meter, solid-propellant rocket blasted off at 12:10 pm on Wednesday and soon placed the satellites including the Shiyan 24A and 24B experimental satellites into preset orbits.

The 26 satellites are tasked with carrying out technological demonstrations and commercial remote-sensing operations, according to CAS Space, a Beijing-based rocket company owned by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Before the mission, the domestic record for the most satellites flown on a single mission was held by the first flight of the modified version of the Long March 8 rocket in February last year, which deployed 22 satellites. The world record is held by SpaceX's Falcon 9, which lifted 143 satellites in January 2021.

The ZK 1A conducted its debut flight at the Jiuquan center in July last year, becoming the country's largest and most powerful solid-propellant rocket by that time.

The rocket model has a length of 30 meters, a diameter of 2.65 meters and a liftoff weight of 135 metric tons. It is capable of sending satellites with a combined weight of 1.5 tons into a typical sun-synchronous orbit about 500 kilometers above Earth.

The rocket features a strong carrying capacity, high accuracy, a reliable design, high cost-efficiency, short prelaunch preparations, low requirements on support infrastructure and is one of the best solid-propellant carrier rockets in the world, the company said.

Yang Yiqiang, a senior rocket scientist and founder of CAS Space, said the ZK 1A is an ideal option for launching small and medium-sized satellites. It has enriched the service portfolio of the Chinese carrier rocket fleet.

According to him, the rocket launched on Wednesday was one of the first manufactured in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province.

The CAS Space rocket production complex, in Guangzhou's Nansha district, is the country's southernmost manufacturing facility for carrier rockets. It has an area of 40 hectares and an initial annual production capacity of 30 rockets.

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