Hyperbola-1 (SQX-1) solid rocket has fourth stage failure losing three weather sats

by | Jul 11, 2024 | China, Launches, Reliability Info, Satellites

At 2341 GMT on 10 July 2024, an upgraded version of the Hyperbola 1 (SQX-1) four stage solid propellant rocket lifted off from the Jiuquan launch site in China. Aboard were three Yunyao-1 weather satellites (Yunyao-1 15, 16 and 17) which are owned by Tianjin Yunyao Aerospace Technology Co., Ltd. and which were to be operated on their behalf by their manufacturer Chang Guang Satellite Technology Co., Ltd (CGSTL). However, while the launch appeared to go well, it was later disclosed by Chinese authorities that there had been an unspecified failure on the fourth stage and the satellites had not achieved orbit.

Hyperbola-1 (SQX-1) Upgraded was launched on 10 July 2024 but all did not go well. Courtesy: bilibili.com

The Hyperbola-1 (SQX-1) is thought to be based on military ballistic missile technology. This launch was annotated as Y8 – the eighth official launch – but in reality nine of the family have been launched. Two of these were suborbital R & D launches of test single stage rockets, albeit that one did carry live suborbital payloads.  Of the seven orbital attempts of the full rocket system (six of the upgraded version), four have been failures.  The first in February 2021 was attributed to a first stage steering fin being hit by falling insulation foam. The second failure in August 2021 involved a fairing seperation failure.  The third failure was caused leak in the attitude control system on the second stage. The cause of leak was found to be material which had blocked a fuel feed valve from sealing properly.  The cause of this latest failure will be investigated.

 

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