Reports: Chinese Long March Rocket Fails in Flight

china_flagWith all the attention focused on the explosion of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launcher, another (apparent) rocket failure has received less attention.

News outlets report that a Chinese Long March 4C rocket failed to orbit the Gaofen-10 Earth observation satellite after taking off from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre on Thursday morning.

The reports indicate the rocket’s third stage lost thrust, causing the satellite to burn up in the atmosphere. There are also reports and pictures online of rocket debris that fell on land.

There has been an odd silence about the flight from the official sources. Government-run television showed video of the launch, but there were no follow up reports indicating the flight had succeeded.

The Gaofen-10 is one of China’s most advanced Earth observation satellites, providing high-resolution imagery for civilian and military users.