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China’s rocket crashes into hills

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Beijing, July 1: A powerful Chinese rocket crashed after an “accidental launch” during a ground test on Sunday due to a structural failure, a private company responsible for the rocket said.
Space Pioneer, also known as Beijing Tianbing Technology, said in a statement that the Tianlong-3 rocket was unexpectedly launched during a static-fire test at a facility in Gongyi county in Henan province.
Luckily it landed in a hilly area of the city of Gongyi and the company said there were no injuries as people in the area were evacuated in advance of the rocket test.
The nine engines of the rocket, stated to be the most powerful in the country, fired in the afternoon on Sunday were lifted off because of a “structural failure at the connection between the rocket body and the test platform”, the company said.
Space Pioneer is one of several private aerospace companies that are developing medium-lift, reusable rockets to help China assemble its satellite constellations comparable to SpaceX’s Starlink.
Residents in flats in the county-level city of Gongyi posted footage online showing the rocket climbing into the sky, leaving a trail of thick smoke before falling back to the ground on its side, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported Sunday.
The crash of the kerosene-liquid oxygen-propelled rocket caused a huge explosion.
Some space observers criticised Space Pioneer for “making a low-level mistake” and posing an imminent danger to residents.
“It was apparently not far from the densely-populated area of Gongyi, and the rocket was out of control,” one user of Chinese social media Weibo wrote.
“However, the company did not even call it an accident in their statement. Instead, they were busy talking about the rocket parameters,” the user said according to the Post. (AP)

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