Chinese Rocket Fails During Test Launch

The Chinese Space Pioneer company has stated that the incident did not result in any casualties.

The Chinese rocket Tianlong-3 experienced an unplanned launch during a test of its first-stage rocket engines on Sunday. The launch occurred at the Comprehensive Test Center in Gongyi City, Henan Province. Videos of the incident were shared on social media, showing the rocket briefly lifting off before crashing back to earth.

According to Space Pioneer, the launch was not intended and the rocket detached from its launch pad due to a “structural failure” in the connection between the rocket body and the test platform. Following liftoff, an onboard computer automatically shut down the engines, and the rocket fell into the mountains approximately 1.5 kilometers away from the test site. This information was shared by the company on WeChat, a Chinese social network.

Both the company and local authorities have confirmed that there were no injuries. Space Pioneer reported that all personnel in the area were evacuated beforehand.

The Tianlong-3 is a liquid-fueled carrier rocket developed to launch satellites into orbit. Chinese media have reported that the rocket will have the most powerful engines ever developed in China. It is anticipated to have a payload capacity of 17 tons for low Earth orbit and 14 tons for Sun-synchronous orbit. Comparisons have been drawn between the Tianlong-3 and SpaceX’s Falcon 9.