KEY POINTS

  • China attempted to launch a satellite on Saturday
  • The mission was declared a failure as the rocket couldn't deliver the satellite to its targeted orbit
  • The mission failure follows last week's near-mishap when rocket debris fell close to a school

China attempted to launch a satellite this past weekend but it was eventually declared a failure.

On Saturday, China attempted to launch a satellite for its Jilin-1 satellite constellation. Along with the other satellites in the constellation, the high-resolution remote sensing Jilin-1 Gaofen-02C satellite was to be used for various purposes including disaster prevention, environmental monitoring, urban planning and natural resource surveys.

The three-satellite mission was announced on Aug. 24, with the two other launches set for Sept. 17 and 22, NASASpaceflight.com reported. Saturday's mission was declared a failure, with authorities only noting that the rocket was unable to deliver the satellite to its targeted orbit, Chinese state-run outlet Global Times reported

The question now is whether the two other satellites, Gaofen-02D and Gaofen-02F, will push through as scheduled or be delayed following the mission failure as they are also set to use the same launch vehicles developed by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).

According to Space News, Saturday's launch was the first failure of a mission using Kuaizhou-1A launch vehicles but three other Chinese launches in 2020 also ended up in failure. The U.S. has also had its fair share of failed satellite launches, recording three failed launches in 2020.

A Long March rocket lifts off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Xichang in China's southwestern Sichuan province in June 2020 A Long March rocket lifts off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Xichang in China's southwestern Sichuan province in June 2020 Photo: AFP / STR

It was only last week when another Chinese launch ended in a near-mishap. In the case of the Sept. 7 launch, the mission was a success but, part of the Long March 4B rocket ended up crashing near a school.

Amateur footage of the event posted on the Chinese social media site Weibo shows the debris falling from the sky and thick orange smoke emanating from behind the trees. In another view of the crash, the orange smoke can be seen near what appears to be a school building.

At the time, residents in the area reportedly heard a loud sound before seeing the orange smoke from behind the school.