Upgraded Hyperbola 1 (SQX-1) rocket fails losing another Jilin-1 Mofang-1A observation satellite (Updated)

by | May 13, 2022 | China, Launches, Satellites, Seradata News

The launch of the Jilin-1 Mofang-1A (R) Earth observation satellite by an upgraded version of the four-stage Hyperbola 1/SQX-1 (Shian Quxian-1) rocket has ended in failure. The launch took place from Jiuquan at 0709 GMT on 13 May. Initial reports are that after a successful lift-off and solid rocket first-stage burn, a failure later in the flight doomed the launch. Chinese State news agency Xinhua said that the rocket “flew abnormally”. The reasons for the failure are now under investigation. Unconfirmed reports are that the solid rocket second stage failed to ignite properly.

Upgraded version of Hyperbola 1 (SQX-1) before launch. Courtesy: i-Space (China)

The Jilin-1 Mofang-1A (R) satellite was a fourth-generation Earth observation spacecraft being carried for  the Chinese firm Chang Guang Satellite Manufacturing (CGSTL). It was a replacement for the previous Jilin-1 Mofang-1A satellite, which was destroyed during the launch failure of the Hyperbola 1/SQX-1 rocket in August 2021.

That failure was triggered by the fairing halves not separating because silicone rubber had inadvertently stuck the longitudinal separation plane together. The rocket suffered an earlier failure in February 2021 when a piece of foam struck a first-stage grid fin, sending it out of control. The rocket’s successful maiden launch was in 2019.

The Hyperbola 1/SQX-1 series is built and operated by i-Space (China), more formally known as Beijing Interstellar Glory Space Technology Ltd. While the initial 1.4m diameter Hyperbola 1/SQX-1 had an overall length of 20.8 m, the upgraded version is 22 m long and can carry a 300 kg payload to a 500 km sun-synchronous orbit – an increase of 40 kg over the initial version.







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