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KZ-1A

Satellite launch system

KZ-1A mobile satellite launch system

The main role of the KZ-1A is to rapidly launch new satellites in order to replace destroyed ones

 
 
Country of origin China
Entered service ?
Crew 4 ~ 6
Dimensions and weight
Weight ~ 90 t
Length ?
Width ?
Height ?
Missile
Rocket length 19.4 m
Rocket diameter 1.4 m
Rocket weight ~ 30 t
Payload capacity 200 - 300 kg
Payload type Satellites
Mobility
Engine diesel
Engine power ?
Maximum road speed ~ 50 km/h
Range ~ 500 km

 

   The Kuaizhou-1 (KZ-1) was officially called an emergency satellite launch system. The name Kuaizhou might be translated as "quick vessel", "clipper", or "swift boat". Officially it was an orbital launch system which could rapidly launch satellites for natural disaster monitoring. Judging by official version these satellites were designed to provide disaster-relief information for its users. In reality it was a military project designed to quickly launch new satellites into orbit in order to replace the destroyed ones. Recently countries like China, United States and Russia are developing more and more weapons aimed at destroying hostile satellites. China made its first anti-satellite test back in 2007. The KZ-1 rocket was first launched in 2013. The second test launch followed in 2014. The rocket had 3 solid stages and can place into orbit a payload of up to 430 kg. It was soon followed in development of the KZ-1A, which could be launched from road-mobile launchers. The KZ-1A was first launched in 2017. So basically only 2 or 3 launches of the initial KZ-1 were ever made when testing switched to the improved and road-mobile KZ-1A system. By 2020 at least 9 launches of the KZ-1A were made and all of them were successful.

   The KZ-1A rocket has similar dimensions as that of the previous KZ-1. It is 19.4 m long and 1.4 m in diameter. It can carry a payload of 200-300 kg.

   This system can launch various military satellites, such as communication, optical surveillance satellites, as well as satellites for tracking aircraft and warships.

   The KZ-1A uses a Wanshan heavy high mobility chassis with 14x14 configuration. This machine has can operate over difficult terrain. So in concept this satellite launch system is similar to road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles. Furthermore these mobile satellite launchers will be operated by China's Rocket Force (former 2nd Artillery Corps). The same military branch operates China's land-based ballistic missiles.

    Launchers with satellites will be scattered across country. Once on high alert these satellite launch systems can leave their bases and operate remote areas. Autonomy of the vehicle allows it to operate independently in an area equivalent to small European country. In case of war it will be much harder to intercept such mobile systems than stationary satellite launch sites and silo-based systems. These have a high chance of surviving the first strike once the country has been attacked.

   This orbital launch system has short preparation time. It takes few hours to launch a replacement satellite into orbit. Deployment of such systems indicate that China devotes significant resources in order to maintain its satellite fleet during wartime. Furthermore is developing various weapons capable of destroying hostile satellites.

   The Kuaizhou series rockets are also being promoted for commercial use. These can launch commercial communication and multimedia satellites.

 

Variants

 

   Kuaizhou-11 is a larger satellite launch system that can carry more payload. It is also a 3-stage solid fuel rocket. It is 2.2 m in diameter and has a launch weight of 78 t. It could be based on a DF-31 intercontinental ballistic missile. The KZ-11 is also road-mobile, though it is transported on a special semi-trailer, which also acts as a launcher. The semi-trailer is towed by a Shaanxi military tractor truck with 6x6 configuration. It has a payload capacity of around 700-1 500 kg, depending on the orbit. Its first launch was planned in 2020.

   It was planned that more than 10 various Kuaizhou series rockets with different payload capacities will be developed. These will be mainly designed to launch small satellites into low-orbit. Some of these rockets are already being developed, including Kuaizhou-21 and Kuaizhou-31. Though these are generally unrelated to the Kuaizhoi-1 and Kuaizhou-1A satellite launch systems.

 

 
KZ-1A mobile satellite launch system

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KZ-1A mobile satellite launch system

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KZ-1A mobile satellite launch system

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KZ-1A mobile satellite launch system

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KZ-1A mobile satellite launch system

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KZ-1A mobile satellite launch system

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