The maiden launch of a new Chinese medium lift-rocket, part of a family of launch vehicles that are meant to support most of the mainland’s launch missions in future, failed on March 16. According to the international news agency, the Long March 7A, which is a variant of the Long March 7 had blasted off from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in the southern island province of Hainan on the morning of March 16 (local time). However, it later suffered a malfunction but the main cause of the failure is reportedly being investigated.
According to reports, the new rocket, also known as LM-7A, with its specifications and capabilities is well-placed to become China’s main rocket for communication satellite missions. Furthermore, it has the potential to replace older rockets in the range of LM-2, LM-3, and LM-4. The LM-7 is expected to be central to the construction of China’s space station and is due for completion in 2022.
However, reports have stated that the timetable for near-term orbital launches and the effect on it by the failed LM-7A mission remains unclear. The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation had said in January that it aimed to carry out more than 40 launches in 2020 including missions related to space infrastructure.
The failed attempt to launch the potential main rocket of the mainland for communication came around the same time it was rocked with an unprecedented outbreak of deadly coronavirus. First detected in the Chinese province of Wuhan, the COVID-19 has now infected more than 1,80,000 people worldwide and has claimed over 3,200 lives in the mainland itself. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the coronavirus as a global pandemic after the virus spread to more than 162 countries, resulting in the deaths of more than 7,100 people worldwide.
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