Latest Long March rocket fails after launch from southern China

Posted July 03, 2017

In November 2016, China successfully launched the Long March-5 from the same Wenchang centre.

A Chinese rocket launch failed on Sunday evening due to abnormality during the flight following what appeared to be a successful liftoff, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Created to lift space station components, deep-space probes and communication satellites into orbit, the Long March-5 Y2 is Beijing´s second heavy-lift rocket able to carry up to 25 tonnes - or around the same weight as 16 cars. This is the second launch of the heavyweight rocket, one of the most powerful in the world, and comes as a major setback to the Chinese space program.

The 7 metric tonne satellite was to be sent to geostationary orbit, some 36,000 kilometres above Earth. China's CCTV television network reports that it is the largest satellite ever to be launched by China. Chinese space scientists are now investigating the failed launch to identify the root cause of the problem.

Xinhua reported last week the Long March-5 Y2 would be fuelled by liquid hydrogen, kerosene and liquid oxygen.

As well as Chang'e-5, the Long March 5 will launch the country's first independent interplanetary mission, to Mars, in 2020.

Capable of carrying up to 25 tonnes of gear, it had taken off with the 7.5 tonnes Shijian-18 experimental communications satellite, which it was supposed to put into orbit.

China is currently studying a mission concept for human landings on the Moon which involves both a super-heavy-lift Long March 9 rocket, now under study, and a Long March 5B carrying the crewed spacecraft.