In a rare setback, China failed to put one of the most advanced satellites into orbit, resulting in the loss of the satellite, a media report said on Thursday.
A Long March 4C rocket blasted off from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in Shanxi but aihangtian.com, a website run by Chinese professional astronautic experts and space enthusiasts, said it failed to insert its payload, the Gaofen-10 satellite, into its designated orbit in what would be the first such failure since 2013.
There is no official announcement about it so far.
The police department of neighbouring Shaanxi province also posted photos on its social media account of a search and recovery mission for debris, in which the launch was dubbed a “failure”, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.
While the entry was later removed from Weibo, it posted the debris of the rocket posted by the police.
The rocket was put into orbit the Gaofen satellite that is part of series designed to give China a global network of earth observation satellites with high-definition, all-weather, 24-hour intelligence gathering capabilities for military and civilian users by 2020.
The network is designed to be able to monitor any spot on earth.
While China has been launching numerous satellites, including the quantum communication satellite that provides hack-proof communication and prevent wiretapping and intercepts.
This is first time a Chinese rocket has failed since 2013, the post said.
In December 2013, the launch of an earth observation satellite jointly built by China and Brazil aboard a Long March rocket failed because of a rocket malfunction.
Nonetheless, the Long March series is claimed by the Chinese government to be the world’s safest rocket, with nearly 20 launches per year in recent years and a success rate of more than 96%, the Post report said.