Zhongke-1A | Maiden Flight

Zhongke-1A | Maiden Flight

Featued Image: CAS Space
Lift Off Time
July 27, 2022 – 04:12 UTC | 16:12 BJT
Mission Name
Maiden Flight of Zhongke-1A
Launch Provider
(What rocket company launched it?)
Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) Space
(Who paid for this?)
Launch Location
Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, China
Payload mass
1,068.63 kg (2,355.9 lb)
Where did the spacecraft go?
Sun-synchronous orbit
Did they attempt to recover the first stage?
No, this is not a capability of the Zhongke-1A launch vehicle
Where did the first stage land?
It crashed on land in northern China
Did they attempt to recover the fairings?
No, this is not a capability of the Zhongke-1A launch vehicle
Were these fairings new?
This was the:
– 1st flight of the Zhongke-1A rocket
– 90th orbital launch attempt of 2022
Where to watch
No replay is available

What’s All This Mean?

For the first time, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) Space division successfully launched their Zhongke-1A (also known as Lijian-1) all- solid fueled rocket. Reportedly, there were six payloads onboard from various organizations. Other companies in China, such as iSpace, also have been working on an all-solid fuel rocket, but have not yet seen success. The launch facilities include a cover and a launcher erector.

zhongke-1A, CAS Space
The Zhongke-1A rocket on the launch pad (Credit: CAS Space)

What Was On Zhongke-1A?

There were six total payloads onboard the maiden flight of the all-solid fuel rocket. Some of the payloads were from the Innovation Academy for Microsatellites which will perform various functions including atmospheric measurements, space technology research, and quantum key distribution.

More specifically, the Nanyue Science Satellite, developed by SASTSpace, under the state-owned Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST) has a host of Earth observing technology. This includes a payload which detects signals from Beidou and GPS satellites to measure soil moisture. It also hosts an ion propulsion system.

What Is Zhongke-1A?

Zhongke-1A is an all-solid fueled launch vehicle which is comprised of four stages. The launch vehicle has launched only one time, which resulted in successful payload deployment. This all-solid fuel rocket comes alongside many others from various launch providers across China. For example, Jielong-3 (Smart Dragon-3) which is being developed by China Rocket, a spinoff China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT).

Zhongke-1A, CAS Space
Zhongke-1A launch vehicle before integration (Credit: CAS Space)

Zhongke-1A is 30 meters (98 ft) long and has a diameter of 2.65 meters (8.69 ft). For it’s maiden flight, the rocket had a lift off weight of 135 tons. Each motor has different thrust capabilites. The first stage can produce 200 tons of thrust and the second stage can produce 100 tons of thust. The third and fourth stages can produce 50 tons and 10 tons, respectively.

CAS Space annouced in August of 2022 a suborbital rocket which will serve the main purpose of space tourism.

Zhongke-1A, CAS Space
Graphic of potential future CAS Space launch vehicles (Credit: CAS Space)

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