China confirms Chang Zheng 7A failure

(16 Mar 2020) The inaugural flight of China's new Chang Zheng 7A rocket - a variant of the CZ-7 - ended in failure on 16 March 2020. Lift-off from the Wenchang Space Launch Center took place at 1334 UTC.

Onboard the Chang Zheng-7A (Y1) was the classified Xinjishu Yanzheng-6 satellite (or "new technology verification satellite 6").

According to official statements, "Chinese space engineers will investigate the cause of the failure."No details were given about the nature of the mishap or at which point in flight it occurred.

According to NasaSpaceFlight, the problem seems to have surfaced when the third stage was to operate. If this is the case, then this will probably lead to the grounding of the Chang Zheng-3B/G rockets, the publication said.

The new launcher is China's new-generation medium-lift orbital launch vehicle developed by China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT). It is to be used for placing satellites in high energy orbits.

The rocket's payload capacity is 13,500 kg into a 400 km LEO and 5,500 kg into a 700 km SSO. The launcher uses RP-1 and liquid oxygen propellant and could replace older CZ models using toxic propellants.

Reference: NasaSpaceFlight, Space News