Chinese Rocket Inadvertently Launches During Static Test, Crashes

At approximately 0745 EST, initial reports indicated that a Tianlong-3 rocket had crashed into the mountains near residential housing after a static engine test inadvertently caused ignition and launch of the medium-lift orbital launch vehicle. The rocket landed 1.5km southwest of the test stand in Gongyi City, Henan Province.

Beijing Tianbing Technology officials have claimed that residents in the town were evacuated before the test launch and that there have been no injuries or deaths.

This was the first of four test launches for the Tianlong-3, with the others running every month until November. It is not currently clear how far back this failure will push the joint military-commercial venture.