The launch of a rocket by the Chinese failed on Sunday a few moments after take-off. Having a height of 57 meters and a diameter of 5 meters the rocket, Long March-5 Y2, has a carrying capacity of 25 tons. Xinhua, the official news agency of China, blamed the failure of Long March-5 Y2 to take off on an ‘anomaly’.
“Anomaly was detected during its flight and further investigation will be carried out,” tweeted Xinhua before adding that further investigations would be carried out to determine the cause.
World’s heaviest satellite
The rocket, which was launched from Wenchang Space Center located in Hainan, is believed to have been hauling the heaviest satellite in the world – the experimental communications satellite known as Shijiian-18 which weighs 7.5 tons. This rocket was supposed to operate on a geosynchronous orbit with a view to offering communications services in Chinese territory such as boosting access to the internet as well as providing access to additional television channels.
Expectations were high that Long March-5 Y2 would take the latest lunar probe by China to the moon later in the year and come back with samples. The timetable of the scheduled lunar mission could now be affected by the failure of the launch. Priority has been placed by Chinese president Xi Jinping on the advancement of the country’s space program with a view to strengthening defense and national security.
U.S. and Russia
In the recent past China has showed ambition in its quest to catch up with Russia and the United States in space exploration programs. China first put a man on space over ten years ago and this has since then been followed by other manned missions. For most of the time the space program in China has been without major setbacks but this could change as the country’s space program delves in new territory.
Four years ago a moon rover from China dubbed Jade Rabbit was able to land on the surface of the moon and in the process managing to elicit national fanfare. The moon rover, however, soon encountered severe technical difficulties proving that the most populous country on earth has a long way to go in order to catch up with space leaders Russia and the U.S.
China has also been accused by the U.S. Department of Defense of pursuing space activities whose aim was to prevent other countries from making use of space-based assets in the event of a crisis.