China says launch of Long March-5 Y2 "unsuccessful"

The Long March-5 Y2 rocket takes off

China's Long March 5 rocket reportedly failed shortly after lifting off from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in the country's southern Hainan Province.

Experts from the China National Space Administration are investigating the cause, Xinhua reported.

Last year, Long March-5 had successfully made its maiden flight in Wenchang.

The rocket was carrying the 7.5 tonne Shijian-18 communication satellite into a 36,000 km apogee Geo-stationary orbit.

It was not clear from the live broadcast whether anything had gone wrong.

The Long March 5's maiden test flight previous year had launched Shijian 17. It is not clear how the timetable for that mission will be affected by the failed launch.

India recently successfully launched its heaviest rocket till date the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle MK III, dubbed "Baahubali", a rocket capable of carrying 4 tonne class of communications satellites.

Dubbed "Chubby 5" for its huge size - five metres in diameter and 57 metres tall - the LM-5 rocket is created to carry up to 25 tonnes of payload into low orbit, more than doubling the country's previous lift capability. China had planned to use this rocket for its lunar mission to collect samples from the lunar surface.

Part of China's multi-billion dollar space programme, this rocket was created to carry space station components, communication satellites and deep-space probes into orbit.

Beijing sees its multibillion-dollar space programme as a symbol of China's rise and the Communist Party's success in turning around a once poverty-stricken nation.

And in April, the country's first cargo spacecraft completed docking with an orbiting space lab - a key step toward China's goal of having a crewed space station by 2022.

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