Chinese official media have confirmed that a top-secret military satellite was lost due to the failure of a Long March 4C booster. The rocket took off from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center at around 6:49 a.m. local time on Thursday.
Video of the flight shows the rocket apparently exploding and raining down debris on the countryside.
It took the official Xinhua news agency about 15 hours to confirm the failure. Xinhua said the problem occurred in the rocket’s third stage after the first two stages performed as planned.
This was China’s second launch failure of 2019. In late March, OneSpace’s four-stage, solid fuel OS-M rocket veered off course about a minute after launch from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. A CubeSat was lost in the setback for the private launch company.