China Release Statement About Recent Satellite Launch Failure

A statement from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center said that two satellites it recently launched experienced “abnormalities” on March 14th.

The launch occurred on March 13th and involved a Yuanzheng-1S upper stage aircraft carrying two satellites, the DRO-A and DRO-B, on a Long March-2C rocket.

While the Long March’s first and second stages operated normally but the Yuanzheng suffered an “abnormality” as it flew into the atmosphere. The unspecified abnormality caused the two satellites to fail to enter the preset orbit, and work is “currently underway” to dispose of the satellites.

The plan for the DRO-A and DRO-B was reportedly for them to head to the moon and enter a retrograde orbit, which would then orbit in formation. The two satellites would then work with the DRO-L that China successfully placed into Low Earth Orbit last month.

The statement from Xichang is a rare instance of China admitting a failure associated with its space program.