Chinese Launch Failure Due to Blocked Fuel Line

Long March 2C. (Credit: CGWIC)
Long March. (Credit: CGWIC)

Space News reports on the recent failure of a Chinese launch vehicle:

China’s launch-services provider on March 3 said the December failure of a Long March 4B rocket was due to debris that blocked fuel intake of an upper-stage engine, resulting in the loss of the CBERS-3 Earth observation satellite owned jointly by China and Brazil.

In a statement, The China Great Wall Industry Corp. (CGWIC) said the debris, which caused the premature shutdown of the second of two third-stage engines, likely came from “the launch vehicle pressurization feeding system or the assembly process of the third-stage engine.”

“Corrective actions including strengthening quality management and perfecting the foreign object debris-control techniques [during] assembly, integration and test” would be put into place immediately, CGWIC said, on both delivered vehicles and those under production.

Read the full story.

Long March Failure Destroys Chinese-Brazilian Satellite


UPDATE, 12/10/13:  Space News is reporting the failure was caused by an unspecified malfunction in the rocket’s third stage. The vehicle’s builder, the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology, is investigating.

The failure of a Long March 4B rocket has destroyed the China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite (CBERS-3).

“There was a malfunction of a launch vehicle during flight and hence satellite positioned in orbit has not been provided. Preliminary evaluations suggest that the CBERS-3 has returned to the planet,” according to a statement posted on the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI) website.