Satellite launch fails, ends on Earth

21:37, Dec 10 2013
DISCOVERY: Members of a local militia collect a component of the Long March 4B rocket, which was loaded with a CBERS-3 satellite, after it was found in Sanxi village of Suichuan county, Jiangxi province, China.

A Chinese-Brazilian satellite launched by China on Monday failed to reach its planned orbit and likely fell back to Earth, Brazil's Ministry of Science said.

The satellite was the fourth in a series designed to monitor land use in Brazil, including forest cover in the Amazon basin.

Brazil's space programme is seeking to reduce the country's dependence on US and European space equipment and launch vehicles and expand the domestic aerospace industry, already the world's No. 3 producer of commercial jet aircraft.

The government is also seeking to increase control over its long and largely unguarded land border and better manage forest, mineral, water and agricultural resources in its vast and thinly populated interior.

The CBERS-3 satellite developed by China and Brazil was carried to space on Monday morning (local time) aboard a Long March 4B rocket from China's Taiyuan satellite launch centre, the Brazilian ministry said in a statement.

"There was a failure in the launch vehicle during flight and the satellite was not positioned in the right orbit. Preliminary evaluations suggest CBERS-3 has returned to Earth," it said.


The ministry said the causes were being investigated, and Brazil and China have agreed to speed up plans to launch the next satellite planned in the series, CBERS-4.

The misfire underscored Brazil's desire to establish its own launch capabilities.

Brazilian planemaker Embraer SA and state telecom Telebras signed a deal last month to put a national defence and communications satellite in orbit for 1.3 billion reais (NZ$780 million) by the end of 2016.

The satellite will be built by French aerospace supplier Thales and launched by space-transport company Arianespace from French Guiana.