China’s Largest Solid Rocket ZK-1A Makes Successful Maiden Flight

At 12:12 on July 27, 2022, Beijing time, the Lijian-1 (ZK-1A) carrier rocket made its first successful flight from China’s Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

The Lijian-1 carrier rocket also successfully sent six satellites into their scheduled orbit, including a new technology test satellite, an orbital atmospheric density detection test satellite, a low-orbit quantum key distribution test satellite, two electromagnetic assembly test satellites and the South Guangdong Science satellite. These six satellites will be used to carry out verification and experimental application such as space exploration and atmospheric density detection.

ZK-1A carrier rocket,(Source: Chinese Academy of Sciences)

The ZK-1A carrier rocket, developed by Beijing Zhongke Aerospace Exploration Technology Co., Ltd., is the solid rocket with the largest carrying capacity in China at present.

The rocket has a total length of 31 meters and a maximum diameter of 2.65 meters (core level I and core level II). Core level I to core level IV are equipped with 200-ton, 100-ton, 50-ton and 10-ton solid rocket motors respectively. The rocket has a take-off weight of 135 tons, and its low earth orbit (LEO) capacity is about 2 tons and 700 km sun synchronous orbit (SSO) capacity is 1.33 tons.

It also features high carrying efficiency, a short preparation period and low launch costs, which will provide a more powerful solid carrier rocket for China’s commercial aerospace market.

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