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China’s Kuaizhou rocket launches first commercial payload

The competition heats up: China’s Kuaizhou solid rocket, upgraded from a military mobile-launched ballistic missile, today placed its first three commercial satellites in orbit.

The rocket is designed to quickly launch smallsats into orbit for a reasonably low cost, and is built and marketed by China’s second commercial launch company, Expace.

In the China Daily report, he added that Expace is in talks with satellite manufacturers in Asia, Europe and Latin America, and has bid for contracts to launch their spacecraft. Guo Yong, president of the CASIC Fourth Academy, told China Daily that the organization intends to capture 20 percent of the global small satellite launch market by 2020. The Kuaizhou 1A rocket can deliver satellites of up to 300 kilograms — about 660 pounds — into low-altitude orbits, according to China Daily.

Expace is China’s second commercial launch services provider after China Great Wall Industry Corp., which sells Long March rocket missions, with an emphasis on launches of large communications satellites heading for geostationary orbit.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

2 comments

  • Localfluff

    It is rather that the competition is over. Kuaizhou is already launching successfully for $10,000 per kilogram in LEO. According to Wikipedia it can launch 1,500 kg at a time. And it can reach Solar synchronous orbit (SSO). Compare that with $60,000 per unit cubesat (1 kg) for NanoRack which only can launch into LEO from the ISS.

    For mere $15 million you can put a ton in any orbit you want up to Solar synchronous with a DEDICATED Kuaizhou. That means you can bring a chemical rocket as upper stage and go anywhere in the Solar system. How could any small sat launcher, including secondary payload, compete with that? The small sat market finally has a winner. All competitors are now dead, even before they manage to get going.

    And it is a great thing that everyone can launch a cubesat within a household budget now! A couple of universities can come together to afford a probe to Venus or an asteroid.

  • wayne

    China is a communist slave-state.
    Does anyone here really (really?) think any of these so-called “private corporations” in China, aren’t completely controlled by the Party and the PLA?
    “State Monopoly Capitalism,” is all about the State, it has precious little to do with “free-market Capitalism.”

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