The Times of India is reporting that, in a rare setback, on Thursday China failed to put one of their most advanced satellites into orbit—this resulted in the loss of the satellite.
A Long March 4C rocket blasted off from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in Shanxi; however, aihangtian.com, a website run by Chinese professional astronautic experts and space enthusiasts, said the rocket failed to insert its payload, the Gaofen-10 satellite, into the designated orbit in what would be the first such failure since 2013. No official statement from China has been released as of this writing.
The police department of the neighboring Shaanxi province also posted photos on its social media account of a search and recovery mission for debris, in which the launch was dubbed a "failure," the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported. While the entry was later removed from the Chinese blogging site, Weibo, it posted the debris of the rocket posted by the police.
The Gaofen satellite is part of series designed to give China a global network of Earth Observation (EO) satellites with high-definition, all-weather, 24-hour intelligence gathering capabilities for military and civilian users by 2020. The network is designed to be able to monitor any location on Earth. While China has been launching numerous satellites, including the quantum communication satellite which provides hack-proof communication and prevent wiretapping and intercepts, this is first time a Chinese rocket failed since 2013, the post said.
In December of 2013, the launch of an EO satellite jointly built by China and Brazil aboard a Long March rocket failed due to a rocket malfunction. Nonetheless, the Long March series is claimed by the Chinese government to be the world's safest rocket, with nearly 20 launches per year and a success rate of more than 96 per cent, the South China Morning Post report stated.