Chinese iSpace Hyperbola-1 Launch Fails

Planned booster families (Credit: i-space)

A Beijing Interstellar Glory (iSpace) Hyperbola-1 rocket failed after liftoff from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on Monday, marking a setback for the nominally private small-satellite launch provider.

“The rocket flew abnormally and the launch mission failed. The specific reasons are being further analyzed and investigated,” the company said in a statement. “Interstellar Glory set up a fault investigation committee and a fault review committee immediately to investigate and review the cause of the fault to reset the launch mission.”

Lost in the accident was a 6U CubeSat named Ark-2 (Fangzhou-2) built by the Beijing Space Ark Space Technology Co. The spacecraft was designed to test technologies to be used in Space Ark’s family of small- and medium-size recoverable satellites.

Hyperbola-1 is a four-stage, solid-fuel satellite launcher believed to be based on Chinese intercontinental ballistic missiles. The booster can loft 300 kg into low Earth orbit at a reported cost of $5 million.

The failure came 18 months after iSpace became the first nominally private company to launch satellites into orbit. A Hyperbola-1 launched two satellites on July 25, 2019.