China's 'heaviest rocket' Long March-5 Y2 fails post lift-off

China's 'heaviest rocket' Long March-5 Y2 fails post lift-off

The country's attempt to launch its second heavy-lift carrier rocket "Long March-5 Y2" failed on Sunday after an abnormity was detected during flight, PTI reported quoting official media sources. Andrew Jones of gbtimes.com tweets that launch is expected about 11:20 GMT (7:20 am ET).

Capable of carrying up to 25 tonnes of gear, it had taken off with the 7.5 tonnes Shijian-18 experimental communications satellite, which it was supposed to put into orbit.

Rocket has been tested and assembled since arriving at the launch center in May. It was not clear from the live broadcast whether anything had gone wrong. Sunday's launch was to be the last drill before the rocket was to carry a lunar probe late this year.

While the rocket reached orbit, the spacecraft was apparently unable to maintain velocity. At that time, China said it was the most powerful launcher it had yet developed.

More news: Tensions Between Turkey, Syrian Kurds Following Cross-border Fire

"I'm sure the Chinese are very disappointed with this failure, as the delays [to its space station and other plans] have become harder and harder to explain without China being seen as slipping in the advances its been able to make". One of the key features of this heavy weight rocket is that it uses environmentally friendly fuel, including kerosene, liquid hydrogen, and liquid oxygen, rather than highly toxic propellants. The probe will collect samples before returning to Earth.

China has scheduled eight launches of the Long March-5 in the coming years for the nation's lunar probe, manned space station and Mars probe missions.

Construction is slated to begin in 2019, starting with the Tianhe core module.

The first heavy-lift rocket was launched in November 2016, also from Wechang.

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