Indonesian satellite launched from China fails to enter orbit
An Indonesian communications satellite launched from China failed to enter a preset orbit, state media reported.
An Indonesian communications satellite launched from China failed to enter a preset orbit, state media reported, in another setback in China's efforts to market its space launch capability.
China is rapidly expanding its own space capability and plans to land a vehicle on the moon in 2012.
The Palapa D satellite, owned by Indonesian satellite communications company Indosat, was launched by a Chinese-made Long March 3B rocket from the Xichang launch site in Sichuan province, southwestern China on Monday.
"The first and second stages of the rocket entered space normally, but the third stage failed during its ignition," Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.
In March, China promised to replace for free the $340 million Nigerian Communication Satellite, or NIGCOMSAT-1, after it failed after 18 months in orbit. It had also been launched from Xichang, in 2007.
China's experience with launching foreign satellites could also help in developing its own space presence.
It plans to launch two or three space laboratories between 2010 and 2015, before embarking on a space station in 2020, the China Daily said on Tuesday, citing Gu Yidong, former chief of China's manned space program.
It is developing a new launch center on the southern island of Hainan, which is better placed than either Xichang or China's other existing center in Gansu province.
The French company ThalesAlenia Space, which made the Palapa D satellite, said the satellite had been captured and experts were investigating the failure, Xinhua reported.
Reuters Last Mod: 01 Eylül 2009, 14:51