Satnews Daily
September 1st, 2016

Chinese Gaofen-10 Satellite Departed, Delayed Or Destroyed?

The Chinese microblogging platform, Sina Weibo, reported that a launch had occurred, probably that of the Gaofen-10 Earth Observation satellite—but such seems to have either been pushed to a new launch date or the launch has actually gone awry.

The Public Security Bureau of Shaanxi Province did report on some expected rocket debris along the air exclusion zone flight path that would be the residuals of a failed blastoff. That report occurred approximately nine hours after the opening of the launch window.

The expectations were for Gaofen-10 to be launched on Wednesday (02:46 to 03:11, Beijing time; 1846 to 1911 UTC) via a Long March 4C rocket. With Chinese launches, normally there is quite a bit of activity on social media from those witnessing a launch, both within the launch operations and those outside the launch site who are viewing the proceedings, as all vie to share details of the event... this time, nothing but silence, and that silence continues as of this writing.

A telling tale is the lack of new element sets by the US Department of Defense (DoD)—the agency tracks objects in space—and there should have been two of these sets picked up, one for the rocket itself and one for the satellite.