Launch fails for Chinese heavy-lift carrier rocket

China to launch second heavy-lift carrier rocket

The second launch of China's most powerful rocket, the Long March 5, ended in failure July 2, the second incident involving a Chinese launch vehicle in as many weeks. Andrew Jones of gbtimes.com tweets that launch is expected about 11:20 GMT (7:20 am ET).

The payload is the Shijian-18 experimental communications satellite destined for geostationary orbit. But Xinhua later reported that the rocket launch has failed.

This was the second flight of the Long March 5, which debuted successfully in November past year.

The blast which was telecast live initially appeared successful as the rocket blasted off seemingly without problem. It was the flight's second launch. It was also not clear whether the rocket, which was carrying a communication satellite, had entered its orbit. The rocket is quite advanced since it utilizes environmentally friendly fuels such as kerosene, liquid hydrogen, and liquid oxygen.


The Long March 5 is a key part of China's human spaceflight and planetary exploration plans.

Last month it successfully launched the Long March-4B, its first X-ray space telescope to study black holes, pulsars and gamma-ray bursts.

The Long March 5B, if the schedule holds, could to see one or two test launches in 2018, possibly carrying a test capsule for a 20 metric tonne, next-generation spacecraft for human missions.

The Long March 5 (Y3), now being manufactured in Tianjin, will lift Chang'e-5 towards the Moon with the aim of returning 2 kg of samples to Earth in the first such mission for over 40 years. The core module of the station will be launched on a Long March 5 in 2018 or 2019.

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