China’s launch industry had a filip this month when it successfully launched two Kuaizhou 1A (KZ-1A) (aka Feitian 1) launch vehicles on “commercial” launches from the same launch site in a single day. The “commercial” Exspace company (a subsidiary of CASIC) operated rocket is a solid rocket design based on the DF-21 missile.

At 0255 GMT on 9 December, the 230 kg Jilin1 Gaofen 02B high resolution satellite was launched into a 546 x 532 km sun-synchronous orbit inclined at 97.5 degrees relative to the equator. The launch of the CASIC designed rocket took place from the Taiyuan launch site in China.  The spacecraft was for the Chang Guang Satellite Technology Ltd and has a payload of f two coaxial, folding optical cameras. One is able to obtain full-colour resolution greater than 0.76 metre and the other has multi-spectral resolution greater than 3.1 metres. The cameras both have a swath of 40 km.

The second Kaizhou 1A launch occurred at Taiyuan – albeit from a different launch pad – at 0852 GMT on 7 December 2019. It was carrying two 45kg maritime tracking satellites Head-2A and -2B, as well as four 6U CubeSat class satellites: Tianqi -4A and 4B are data communications satellites serving the IoT (Internet of Things) applications.  Tianyi 18 and 19 Earth observation test satellites.