China's commercial rocket SD-3 to make maiden flight in 2022

(04 Mar 2021) Smart Dragon-3 (SD-3), the third member of China's Dragon series commercial rockets family, will make its maiden flight in 2022, its developer said Wednesday.

A four-stage solid-propellant rocket, the SD-3 will be the largest and have the highest carrying capacity among the Dragon series, according to the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT).

With a maximum diameter of 2.64 meters and a take-off mass of 140 tonnes, the rocket is capable of sending a payload of 1.5 tonnes to solar synchronous orbit at an altitude of 500 km.

To meet the large-scale commercial launch demands, the rocket's multi-satellite launch capability enables it to carry more than 20 satellites in a single mission, while the cost is US$10,000 per kg.

The rocket maker said the SD-3 was designed for both land and sea launches.

China's Dragon series rockets were launched in 2019 for commercial space launch market. The first-generation rocket SD-1 made its maiden flight in August 2019, and it is scheduled to conduct two to three launches this year.

Reference: Xinhua

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