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Kuaizhou (KZ, meaning "speedy vessel".;[1] Chinese: 快舟; pinyin: Kuài-Zhōu) is a Chinese quick-reaction orbital launch vehicle, believed to consist of three solid-fueled rocket stages, with a liquid-fueled fourth stage as part of the satellite system.[1] The Kuaizhou series of rockets is manufactured by ExPace, a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC), as their commercial launch vehicles.[2][3]


The rocket series is based on CASIC's ASAT and BMD mid-course interceptor rockets. Development on the KZ rockets started in 2009.[2][4]

It performed its maiden flight on 25 September 2013, launched from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. [5]

Kuaizhou 2 launched at 0637 GMT on 21 November 2014, again from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.[1]

Its first commercial launch, was on 9 January 2017, using the Kuaizhou 1A, from Jiuquan, placing three small satellites into a polar orbit.[6]


The solid-fuel rocket will be able to place a 1-metric-ton payload into a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 700 kilometers. Prelaunch preparations will take very little time, and the launch can be conducted on rough terrain

The rocket's low requirement for launch conditions will help save a lot of money, with the ability to keep the launch cost under $10,000 per kilogram of payload, which means it will be very competitive in the international market

A satellite would be installed on a Kuaizhou rocket and stored in a maintenance facility. Once needed, it can be deployed by a transporter-erector-launcher vehicle to a secure location and can be launched with a preparation time as short as several hours.[7]


Rocket First launch Payload fairing size Payload to LEO Payload to SSO Lift-off mass Length Diameter Thrust Payload cost
Kuaizhou 1
25 September 2013 430 kg (950 lb) (500 km) [8][9][10][11] 30 t (30 long tons; 33 short tons) 19.4 m (64 ft) 1.4 m (4.6 ft) [3][4]
Kuaizhou 1A
9 January 2017 (UTC) 1.2–1.4 m (3.9–4.6 ft) 300 kg (660 lb) [12] 250 kg (550 lb) (500 km)
200 kg (440 lb) (700 km)
30 t (30 long tons; 33 short tons), TEL-capable[9] 19.4 m (64 ft) 1.4 m (4.6 ft) [6][9]
Kuaizhou 11
In development;
projected 2017
2.2–2.6 m (7.2–8.5 ft) 1,500 kg (3,300 lb) 1,000 kg (2,200 lb) (700 km) 78 t (77 long tons; 86 short tons), TEL-capable[9] 2.2 m (7.2 ft) $10,000/kg ($4545.45/lb) [9][3][4]
Kuaizhou 21
In development;
projected 2025
3 m (9.8 ft) [9]

See also[edit]