At 8.12 a.m. Moscow time on 27 July, a new Chinese Lizian-1 rocket was successfully launched from the Jiuquan launch site, bringing six satellites into orbit, also known as ZK-1A, a four-stage solid-fuel carrier rocket developed by CAS Space, a subsidiary of the Engineering Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, or CAS.
The launch capability of ZK-1A places a Chinese missile in the category of a carrier rocket similar to the European Vega. Like the first version of the latter, Lizzian-1 can deploy 1,500 kg into low-Earth orbit.The missile has a launch mass of 135 tons, a height of 30 metres and a maximum diameter of 2.65 metres. Thus, the new CAS Space missile is the largest solid-fuel carrier rocket operating in China.
The satellites produced are built by IAM, another CAS institute that deals with microsatellites, and are mainly technology displays, some of which focus on atmospheric density, quantum technology and electromagnetic testing, and finally there is a satellite of the Shanghai SAST company with several instruments on board, including a soil moisture measurement instrument using the BeiDou signal.
CAS Space plans to develop several ZK missiles, the first of which
Importance of solid-fuel launchers
The start-up of ZK-1A marks the debut of a third major state enterprise in missile construction, especially in the solid-fuel missile race, a technology that provides high traction and is generally less complex and time-consuming to build and launch than liquid engines.
There are currently two other large companies in China that deal with this type of missile.
Finally, there is CASC, the largest Chinese space company, which is also particularly involved in Changzhang missiles, among which Changzheng-11 is one of the two solid-fuel missiles created by the company. The other is Jielong-1, managed by China Rocket, a subsidiary that plans to debut in September with the Jielong-3 carrier rocket, similar to the Lizzian-1 carrier rocket of CAS Space.