New Chinese solid fueled light rocket was launched today at 04:11 UTC with its first mission from  Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China’s Gobi Desert.

Launch was result of the contract signed between Chang Guang Satellite Technology Ltd. (CGSTL) and EXPACE/CASIC. Expace Technology Co., Ltd. Rocket delivered to space three satellites:  JL-1 imaging satellite and two small CubeSats-2U: the Xingyun Shiyan-1 and the Kaidun-1. First is remote sensing satellite able to provide high resolution images and video (1 m with swath of 11 km x 4.5 km) and will be used for forestry monitoring. Satellite will be also utilized for protecting natural environment protection, monitoring transport across the country and disaster prevention. Cubesat satellites delivered today are Xingyun Shiyan-1 and the Kaidun-1: first was developed by CASIC 9th Academy for testing new communication technologies on low Earth orbit. Kaidun-1 was developed by the Beijing Caton Universal Technology Ltd. and will be used for maritime traffic monitoring and was equipped with AIS ship-tracking receiver. Satellites were deployed after rocket reached orbit of 528 km x 543 km with inclination at 97.5 degrees.

Kuaizhou-1A was developed by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASIC) as commercial modification of Dong Feng 21 missile. Rocket is able to deliver 430 kg to LEO or 200 kg to 700 km SSO orbit. It is highly mobile launch vehicle delivered to launch site on wheeled TEL vehicle. Kuaizhou-1A can be considered as another variant of Kuaizhou-1 rocket (also solid fueled and delivered on TEL) and launched for the first time in 2013. Main difference seemed to be in construction of 4 stage, which remains attached to satellite in Kuaizhou-1 or is separating from payload in case of Kuaizhou-1. Rocket weighs 30 t and is long for 20 m with diameter for 1.4 m. Propulsion is based on DF-21 missile: first stage is heavy for 16.6 t, second stage weighs 8 t, third stage mass is 3.1 t. Fourth stage is liquid fueled, but full specification of engines was not yet unveiled.