Chinese Rocket Crashes Into Mountain After Accidental Launch

A Chinese civilian aerospace manufacturer experienced a significant setback on Sunday when a rocket crashed into a mountain following an accidental launch. The rocket, operated by Space Pioneer, also known as Beijing Tianbing Technology, was involved in a ground test of their Tianlong-3 rocket when a structural failure occurred.

The company explained in a statement obtained by CNN that the mishap was due to a “structural failure of the connection between the rocket body and the test platform,” causing the rocket to separate from the launch pad. “After liftoff, the onboard computer was automatically shut down, and the rocket fell into the deep mountains 1.5 kilometers [0.9 miles] southwest of the test platform. The rocket body fell into the mountain and disintegrated,” the statement read.

Despite the dramatic crash, no injuries were reported. Videos shared on social media captured the moment the rocket launched, quickly followed by a fiery explosion as it crashed into the mountainside.

Space Pioneer has been recognized as a “leading company” in the commercial rocket industry. The company is focused on developing reusable orbital rocket technology. In April 2023, Space Pioneer successfully launched the Tianlong-2 rocket, marking China’s first liquid carrier rocket launch by a commercial operator. The Tianlong-3 rocket, which disintegrated on Sunday, was intended to support the development of China’s satellite internet network.

This incident highlights the challenges and risks associated with space exploration and rocket development. While no injuries occurred, the failure underscores the importance of rigorous testing and safety protocols in the aerospace industry. Space Pioneer will likely investigate the cause of the structural failure to prevent similar incidents in future tests.