Long March rocket malfunction stops Chinese satellite making orbit

By Guo Xiaowei Source:Global Times Published: 2013-12-10 1:08:01

A Chinese satellite has "failed to enter orbit" after a rocket malfunction, military sources said on Monday.

A high-resolution remote-sensing satellite Ziyuan I-03 was launched 11:26 am on the back of a Long March 4B rocket from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in Taiyuan, capital of Shanxi Province in North China.

The rocket malfunctioned during flight and the satellite failed to enter orbit, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Monday.

Launched via the China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite Program, the satellite represented the latest international advance in disaster reduction for use in the fields of agriculture, meteorology and the environment, according to the China National Space Administration.

The satellite's images could be used "for a variety of purposes, including measuring deforestation and urban planning," Xinhua said.

Experts from both countries are investigating the cause and both sides expressed confidence in future cooperation. There could be many reasons for the failure including the rocket itself or weather conditions, a rocket expert requiring anonymity told the Global Times.

"The rocket is maturely developed and has been launched many times with a high success rate," he said.

The rocket design was fine and the problem might have occurred in production or administration, he suggested.

The failure would not damage cooperation, he predicted.

China and Brazil have cooperated and launched satellites many times in recent years, he added.

Space projects are inherently high cost, high output and high risk. No country including Russia, the US and other European countries, can guarantee 100-percent success, according to the expert.

The success rate of most unmanned rockets is between 91 and 94 percent, he said. "What's important now is to find out the cause of failure and strengthen quality management," he said.

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