Per the Long March 5 failure, this may be a clue as to when things started going off nominal. pic.twitter.com/6xzMk3pDY8
— Chris B – NSF (@NASASpaceflight) July 2, 2017
Chinese media report the launch of the Long March 5 rocket carrying an experimental communications satellite failed in flight on Sunday.
“An anomaly occurred during the flight of the rocket, which blasted off at 7:23 p.m. from Wenchang Space Launch Center in southern province of Hainan,” the Xinhua news agency reported.
Xinhau provided no further details about the failure. An investigation is underway.
The Shijian 18 communications satellite was lost in the accident. The spacecraft was the first in a new class of DFH-5 satellites designed for high-power performance communications. Shijian 18 would have tested ion propulsion and other technologies.
China’s most powerful booster, the Long March 5 had a successful maiden launch last November. It is slated to launch the Chang’e-5 lunar mission later this year. Chang’e 5 will land on the moon and return soil samples to Earth.
The failure comes two weeks after a Long March 3B suffered a malfunction that left the ChinaSat 9A communications satellite in a lower than planned orbit.