China’s Rocket Fails After Liftoff

An anonymous reader quotes CNN:
The second launch of China’s new-generation Long March-5 carrier rocket failed Sunday — dealing a blow to the country’s ambitious space aspirations. Carrying an experimental communications satellite, China’s largest rocket lifted off at 7:23 p.m. local time (7:23 a.m. ET) toward clear skies from the seaside Wenchang space launch center on the southern Chinese island of Hainan. But 40 minutes later, the state-run Xinhua news agency flashed a headline declaring the launch a failure — without providing any details.

Dubbed “Chubby 5” for its huge size — 5 meters in diameter and 57 meters tall — the LM-5 rocket is designed to carry up to 25 tons of payload into low orbit, more than doubling the country’s previous lift capability… The launch failure means further delay for a series of planned Chinese space endeavors — including its robotic and eventual human lunar programs — according to Joan Johnson-Freese, a professor at the US Naval War College and an expert on China’s space program… China has announced plans to land a robotic probe on the dark side of the moon later this year and to reach Mars around 2020. All such future missions will depend on the LM-5 and space officials told reporters Sunday that the latest launch would help perfect the rocket design, including enabling it to send a space station into orbit “in a year or two.”

This morning Elon Musk tweeted his condolences, adding “I know how painful that is to the people who designed & built it.”


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