China’s first try at sending a privately developed rocket that could carry a satellite into space failed during a launch Saturday.
The first and second stage of the Zhuque-1 rocket operated as it should have, according to Beijing-based Landspace, which developed the spacecraft. But the rocket ultimately didn’t reach orbit after something went wrong with the third stage, Reuters reports.
Landspace posted to its Weibo social media account, saying that “cowling separation was normal but something abnormal happened after the second stage,” though it did not elaborate further on the subject, according to Reuters and the Associated Press. The statement did say building such rockets is “the right decision for the company.”
The satellite involved in the launch was being carried for state media China Central Television (CCTV), according to Chinese media reports cited by Reuters and the AP.
Another Beijing-based private firm, OneSpace Technology, successfully launched a smaller rocket, the “Chongqing Liangjiang Star,” into space in May.