SupChina illustration by Derek Zheng
On March 16, China launched the first Long March 7A, a rocket that could become the main vehicle for sending large communications satellites toward geostationary orbits, around 36,000 kilometers above Earth. In these orbits, satellites remain effectively fixed over a particular spot on Earth. The 7A is adapted from the Long March 7, which was designed to launch cargo spacecraft to the planned Chinese Space Station, which will orbit at around 390 kilometers up. An extra stage on the rocket provides the extra kick to get up into higher orbits.
The launch failed. What does this mean for China’s space program? Click through to SupChina for details.