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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]


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.[6]


Rocket First launch Payload fairing size Payload to LEO Payload to SSO Lift-off mass Diameter Thrust Payload cost
Kuaizhou 1
2013 200 kg (440 lb) [3][4]
Kuaizhou 11
projected 2017 2.2–2.6 m (7.2–8.5 ft) 1,500 kg (3,300 lb) 1,000 kg (2,200 lb) 78 t (77 long tons; 86 short tons) 2.2 m (7.2 ft) $10,000/kg ($4545.45/lb) [3][4]


  1. ^ a b c Stephen Clark (21 November 2014). "China launches for the second time in 24 hours". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 22 November 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Phillip Keane (20 September 2016). "ExPace, China's Very Own SpaceX". Asian Scientist Magazine. 
  3. ^ a b c "First commercial space base to be built in Wuhan". SpaceDaily. 14 September 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c Jeffrey Lin (7 October 2016). "China's Private Space Industry Prepares To Compete With SpaceX And Blue Origin". Popular Science. 
  5. ^ Xinhua (25 September 2013). "Kuaizhou – China secretly launches new quick response rocket". China.org.cn. 
  6. ^ "New rocket readies for liftoff in 2016". SpaceDaily. 10 November 2015.