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bjl1693641 : China's commercial carrier rocket Smart Dragon-1 makes maiden flight

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  • China's commercial carrier rocket Smart Dragon-1 makes maiden flight (2019-08-17)
  • Smart Dragon 1 (SD 1), the newest model in China's carrier rocket family, conducted its maiden flight on Saturday (17 August 2019) in northwest China's Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, ferrying three small satellites to the space. The SD 1 Y1, the first in the solid-propellant SD 1 series, blasted off at 12:11 pm from a large launch vehicle and thundered into blue skies. After several minutes of flight, it successfully placed three satellites, respectively designed and built by three private satellite startups in Beijing, to their orbits about 550 kilometers above the Earth. The mission marked the launch of a new brand of carrier rocket by China beside Long March of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, Kuaizhou of China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp as well as SQX of the privately owned space startup i-Space in Beijing. Developed by ChinaRocket Co Ltd, a subsidiary of the country's leading rocket maker China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, SD 1 is 19.5 meters tall, has a diameter of 1.2 meters and weighs 23.1 metric tons. Though SD 1 is the smallest and lightest carrier rocket in China, it boasts the highest carrying efficiency in all Chinese solid-propellant rockets, said Gong Min, SD 1's project manager at China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology. Gong noted that the rocket is able to place multiple satellites with a combined weight of 200 kilograms into a sun-synchronous orbit 500 km above the ground.    Photo by Imaginechina
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