BEIJING—A new Chinese medium-lift rocket, part of a family of launch vehicles meant to support most of China’s launch missions in the future, failed on its debut flight, the official news agency Xinhua reported.
The Long March 7A, a variant of the Long March 7, blasted off from the Wenchang Space Launch Center, in the southern island province of Hainan, on March 16.
But it later suffered a malfunction, the cause of which was being investigated, Xinhua said.
With its specifications and capabilities, the rocket, known as the LM-7A, is supposed to become China’s main rocket for communication satellite missions, potentially replacing older rockets in the LM-2, LM-3 and LM-4 range.
The LM-7 family is also expected to be central to the construction of China’s space station, due for completion in 2022.
It was not clear how the timetable for near-term orbital launches would be affected by the failed LM-7A mission.
The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation said in January that it aimed to carry out more than 40 launches in 2020, including space infrastructure missions.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping has prioritized the space program to strengthen national security and defense.
In 2003, China became the third country to put a man in space with its own rocket after the former Soviet Union and the United States.
The Epoch Times previously reported that the Chinese regime confirmed a fourth successful 2020 space mission on Feb. 19 and intends to continue dominating the space race despite a coronavirus epidemic.
The Chinese regime has formulated plans to exploit an Earth-moon space economic zone that will generate $10 trillion a year by 2050. China intends to fly its Long March-9 heavy-lift carrier rocket by 2030 to support construction of a space-based solar power plant to sustain its lunar economic development agenda.
By liangping Gao and Ryan Woo. The Epoch Times contributed to this report.