The first flight of the new Chinese Kuaizhou 11 solid-fueled rocket failed to place two small satellites into orbit Friday, and Chinese state media said the cause of the malfunction is under investigation.
China launched a Long March 2D rocket Saturday with a satellite Chinese officials claimed will study the space environment and conduct technology demonstrations, less than two days after a Long March 4B rocket took off from a different launch site with an Earth-imaging payload.
Two launches of Chinese rockets Friday and Sunday successfully placed Earth-imaging and technology demonstration satellites into orbit. The two missions, which took off from different spaceports, flew board Long March 11 and Long March 2D rockets.
A solid-fueled Kuaizhou 1A launcher carried a commercial broadband communications satellite into orbit Thursday for Galaxy Space, a Chinese company that says it plans to launch up to 144 spacecraft for a space-based 5G network in the next few years.
China led the world with 34 orbital launch attempts in 2019 — including two failures — followed by 22 flights from Russian-operated launch pads and 21 satellite delivery missions originating from U.S. spaceports, all of which were successful.
Demonstrating a quick turnaround launch capability, China launched a light-class, solid-fueled Kuaizhou 1A rocket Sunday, four days after the same type of satellite booster fired into orbit from the same launch pad.