China on Wednesday successfully launched six new satellites into space with its new solid-propellant rocket, which made its debut and is stated to be the country’s largest.
The ZK 1A, a new model of the carrier rocket, conducted its maiden flight at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in north-western China, becoming the country’s largest and most powerful solid-propellant rocket, official media here reported.
The satellites included a new space technology test satellite and a test satellite for probing atmospheric density.
The 30-metre rocket placed six satellites into a pre-set orbit, the state-run China Daily reported.
The ZK 1A has a length of 30 metres, a diameter of 2.65 metres and a lift-off weight of 135 metric tons.
It is capable of sending satellites with a combined weight of 1.5 tons to a typical sun-synchronous orbit about 500 kms above the Earth, the report said.
The ZK 1A replaces the Long March 11 rocket which is 20.8 metres tall, with a diameter of 2 metres and a liftoff weight of 58 tons, it said.
Meanwhile, China’s Tianzhou-3 cargo craft which has detached from the under-construction space station re-entered the atmosphere in a controlled manner on Wednesday, sparking concerns over the fall of its debris.
The China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) said most of the spacecraft’s components burned up during the re-entry, and a small amount of its debris fell into the scheduled safe waters of the South Pacific.
Launched in September 2021, the Tianzhou-3 cargo craft delivered about six tonnes of supplies to the country’s space station, which is under construction.