Launch failure: Zi Yuan 1-3/CBERS 3 imaging satellite is launched by Long March 4B but it did not enter stable orbit

by | Dec 9, 2013 | China, commercial launch services, Satellites | 0 comments

The Zi Yuan 1-3 Earth imaging satellite, a satellite in the Sino-Brazilian  CBERS (China Brazil Earth Resources Satellite) series and alternatively named CBERS 3,  has been lost on a launch by a Long March 4B launch vehicle flying from the Taiyuan launch site in China.  The launch took place at 0326 GMT om 9 December.  According to reports from the Brazilian Space Agency INPE, the satellite did not achieve a stable orbit due to a launch mishap involving the third stage having its six minute burn cut short by 11 seconds.   The result was that while the apogee was close to planned (720km compared to its target of 778km at an inclination of 98.5 degrees relative to the equatorial plane) the spacecraft did not achieve enough velocity to maintain a stable orbit and quickly re-entered to burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere – probably over the Antarctic at circa 0407 GMT.

tThe failure representS the first ever Long March 4B failure out of 21 orbital launch attempts – a failure rate of 4.8%.  Unlike the rest of the Long March launch vehicle family which are built by the Chinese Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT), the Long March 4 series  is built by the  Shanghai Academy of Space Technlogy (SAST).   According to the Flightglobal/Ascend SpaceTrak database, for the Long March 4 family as a whole,  1 ouT of 35 launches has failed – a failure rate of 2.8%. The failure rate across all Long March launch vehicles is 7%, falling to 4.1% as the rate for the past five years.

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to

Related Articles

French company Gama contracts NanoAvionics to build its first satellite

[caption id="attachment_110191" align="alignright" width="309"] The mission logo for GAMA ALPHA. Courtesy of Gama[/caption] A French start-up Gama has contracted NanoAvionics Read more

Telesat moves to smaller LEO comsat constellation as it demos its signals over India

While its competitors seem determined to add ever more numbers to their proposed or under construction satellite constellations, satellite operator Read more

SpaceX launches 59 satellites on its Transporter-5 flight of Falcon 9

SpaceX successfully launched a Falcon 9v1.2FT Block 5 rocket from Cape Canaveral, USA at 1835 GMT on 25 May 2022. Read more

China launches three communication satellites on Long March 2C

A Chinese rocket, Long March 2C (CZ-2C), has been launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, China at 1030 GMT Read more

Russian military launches Bars-M 3 cartography reconnaissance satellite on Cosmos 2503 rocket

The Russian Ministry of Defence has successfully launched a Soyuz 2-1A from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Northern Russia at 0803 Read more

Kongsberg orders three dual AIS/radar detection satellites from NanoAvionics

On 3 May 2022 the Defence & Aerospace arm of Norwegian international technology group, Kongsberg Gruppen, contracted with NanoAvionics, Lithuania, Read more

SpaceX launches 53 Group 4-18 Starlink satellites successfully

SpaceX successfully launched a Falcon 9v1.2FT Block 5 rocket from Kennedy Space Station, Florida, USA at 1059 GMT on 18 Read more

Cosmos 2555 appears to be a dead duck after its Angara 1.2 launch

The Cosmos 2555 (Kosmos 2555) Russian military codenamed satellite, which was launched from Plesetsk on 29 April by an Angara Read more