CAS launched its first Largest Solid carrier Rocket – Lijian-1

The maiden launch of Lijian-1 payload manifests six new scientific and experimental satellites of China.

Liftoff of CAS Space's first Lijian-1 solid rocket from the desert spaceport of Jiuquan on July 27, 2022. Credit: Chinese Academy Sciences

In China, on July 27, 2022 at 12:12 Beijing time (0412 UTC), the Lijian-1 launch vehicle with solid-fuel rocket engines was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center (Gansu Province). The payload is six new Chinese satellites, including an experimental satellite for new space technologies and sent 6 satellites for the new space technology test satellite, the orbital atmospheric density detection test satellite, the low-orbit quantum key distribution test satellite, the electromagnetic assembly test double star and the Nanyue Science Star. Orbit, the launch mission was a complete success.

The Lijian-1 (Chinese: 力箭一号 / 中科一号甲, Zhongke-1A / ZK-1A) is now China's heaviest operational solid rocket launcher. This solid propellant launch vehicle was developed by the Zhongke Aerospace Exploration Technology Co., Ltd. (中科宇航探索技术有限公司, Zhongke Aerospace Exploration Technology Co., Ltd.) under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The new four-stage launch vehicle with a launch weight of 135 tons and a thrust of a solid-propellant rocket engine with a diameter of 2.65 meters of the first stage of 200 TF will be used to launch one or more small and medium-sized spacecraft into sun-synchronous or low Earth orbits weighing up to 1500 kg.

This Launch Marks the 26th Orbital mission for China in 2022, and the 90th Worldwide.

CAS Space is a commercial spinoff from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). The company raised $31 million in 2021 but leading investors were CITIC Juxin, ultimately owned by state-owned investment company CITIC Group Corporation, Zhongke Chuangxing, an accelerator fund set up by CAS, and Yuexiu Industrial Investment, another state-owned investment vehicle, operating in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

The industrial base for CAS Space has been established in Nansha district in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province. Nansha states it aims to foster a complete industrial chain including rockets (upstream), satellites (midstream) and downstream applications. Space subsidiaries of carmaker Geely, including Geespace, Shanghe Aerospace and Xingkong Zhilian have also settled in Nansha.

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