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KT-1 (Kaituozhe) Space Launch Vehicle

China's Space Solid Fuel Rocket Carrier company (SSRC) developed a small commercial satellite launch vehicle, called KT-1 (Kaituozhe-1). Capable of placing spacecraft up to 0.3 tons into LEO or 0.1 ton into 500 km polar orbit, the booster is a 20-meter tall four-stage design with two solid upper stages. The 2.0-meter diameter first stage features four nozzles. The total launch mass is 13.6 tons. Although the KT-1 was widely reported to be based on the solid rocket motors of the DF-31 ICBM, the second stage of the KT-1 clearly has a much smaller diameter than the DF-31 second stage [which is the same 2 meters as the first stage of both vehicles]. But the 20 meter length is rather unwieldy [roughly twice the length of the DF-21 intermediate range missile],

Yin Xingliang, Vice President of CAMEC (China Aerospace Machinery and Electronics Corporation) stated in early 2001 that CAMEC was developing the Kaituozhe-1 solid-propellant launch vehicle which could be launched from a mobile, truck-based platform, "anywhere in the country". Development of the launcher is "in progress" and the vehicle could be tested as early as 2002.

The maiden flight of the Kaituozhe-1 from Taiyuan failed to place a 50 kg satellite HTSTL into 300 km polar orbit on 15 September 2002 due to a second stage malfunction.

The KT-1, made its second launch on 16 September 2003 from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center. Chinese officials claimed that the launch was successful in "R&D standard". The official report said that its guidance system, fairing separation and satellite-launcher separation work well but also admitted that "not all objectives" were achieved. According to information revealed earlier, the launcher was to put the 40-kg PS2 satellite into the 300km circular orbit. After at least two flight failures with no successful missions, the KT-1 seemed to fade away.




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