China launches Kaituozhe-2 small launch vehicle with small satellite on the top

China managed to performed successful launch of their latest light launch vehicle. Kaizuozhe-2 liftoff from pad 921 at LC-43 at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center  on March 3, 2017 at 23:53 UTC. Mission objective was to reach Low Earth Orbit and deploy  Tiankong-1 satellite.

Launch was officially confirmed by Chinese media and by U.S. Space Surveillance which is regularly tracking new objects on Earth orbits. Two new objects were detected on LEO orbit:  one in a 374 km  x 404 km orbit (inclination of 96.9 degrees - presumably the TK-1 satellite) and second  in a lower orbit of 214 km x 399 km  inclined 96.7° - probably upper stage of the Kaizuozhe-2.

Kaizuozhe-2 was designed as successor of Kaizuozhe-1 and as its predecessor, it was developed at China Aerospace Science & Industry Corporation (CASIC). Work under new family of rockets started in the early 2000; CASIC decided to use Dong Feng ICBM rocket family as base for new project. Kaizuozhe-1 was able to reach Low Earth orbit and deliver 100 kg of payload, but no technical details were yet unveiled. KT-1 (probably just like KT-2) can be launched from mobile platform and transported almost ready to launch on wheeled transporter. Both rockets are solid fueled and probably share many of components and subsystems with Dong Feng missiles. KT-2 is known as more advanced version of KT-1; it was based on Dong Feng 31 ICBM and according to official specifications is able to reach 700 km SSO orbit with 250 kg of payload, or deploy larger payload (350 kg) on LEO orbit.

TK-1 (Tiankun-1) experimental satellite is the first spacecraft developed and built  by China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation. Main objective of the mission is to test multiple technologies which will be utilized in future inside small satellites. , but just like in case of the rocket non details were still unveiled.

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