Accident during the launch of the Chinese missile Kuaizhou-1A

UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — The Kuaizhou-1A solid-propellant rocket failed after launching early Wednesday morning with the loss of a pair of commercial satellites to test a new navigation system for autonomous driving.

The Kuaizhou-1A light-class solid-propellant rocket launched from the Jiuquan Cosmodrome in the Gobi Desert at 04:00 UTC on December 15, as indicated in the airspace closure notices.

Chinese state media confirmed the launch failure a few hours later, succinctly stating that the launch had failed, with specific reasons being further analyzed and investigated.

The first two satellites were launched for Geespace, a subsidiary of the automaker Geely. The pair were intended to test navigation assistance and connectivity for autonomous driving, according to earlier statements.

The setback hit commercial launch services provider Expace, a subsidiary of giant state-owned missile and defense contractor China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC). CASIC is a separate division of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the country’s premier space contractor and operator of the Long March rocket.

CASIC and Expace announced plans for seven launches over the next three months for various clients at a commercial space forum in late November. The launches of Quaizhou-1A will likely be canceled until an investigation is completed and the causes are identified and rectified.

Wednesday’s launch marked China’s 51st launch in 2021 and its third failure. China’s previous national launch record for a calendar year was 39 launches achieved in 2018 and 2020.

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