China launches first commercial space mission with Kuaizhou-1A rocket

As a part of the mission, three satellites namely Jilin Linye-1 forestry satellite (JL-1), CubeSats XY-S1 and Caton-1 were launched into space.

China on 9 January 2017 successfully launched first Chinese commercial mission using an updated version of the low-cost Kuaizhou-1A rocket. The mission was launched from northwestern China’s Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gansu province.

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As a part of the mission, three satellites namely Jilin Linye-1 forestry satellite (JL-1), CubeSats XY-S1 and Caton-1 were launched into space.  

Highlights of the satellites
• JL-1 Satellite is a multifunctional remote-sensing satellite which provides for high-definition video images.
• It can be used for environmental protection, land resource and forestry surveying, transport and disaster prevention and relief purposes.
• The JL-1 satellite is also known as Lingqiao 3. It is part of the Jilin constellation of commercial Earth observatories in orbit.
• The Jilin satellites are built and operated by the state-owned Chang Guang Satellite Technology Co Ltd.
• On the other hand, XY-S1 and Caton-1 Satellites are experimental satellites aimed at testing the technologies of low-orbit narrow-band communication and VHF Data Exchange System (VDES) respectively.

Rocket technology company Expace under the state owned China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) was responsible for the launch of the mission.  All the commercial Kuaizhou launches are conducted under the auspices of Expace, a subsidiary of CASIC. The company provided for flexible, convenient, quick and economical launch service.

About Kuaizhou-1A rocket

• It is an improvised and advanced version of erstwhile Kuaizhou-1 rocket.
• It is a low-cost solid fuelled carrier rocket with high reliability and short preparation period.
• It was designed with an aim to launch low-orbit satellites weighing less than 300 kg.
• The Kuaizhou models are capable of lifting four to six satellites to multiple orbits in a single flight.
• It adopts a mobile launch platform, integrated power supply equipment, test and launch control facilities to carry vehicle from technical support centre to launch site.

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