China-Brazil satellite fails to enter orbit
A joint Chinese-Brazilian environmental monitoring satellite launched Monday from northern China failed to enter orbit, state media and experts said, in a rare setback for the country's ambitious space programme.
The satellite, meant to be a key tool in Brazil's efforts to control Amazon rainforest deforestation and to monitor its huge agribusiness sector, blasted off from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in Shanxi province on a Long March 4B rocket at 11:26am (0326 GMT), Xinhua said.
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"The rocket malfunctioned during the flight and the satellite failed to enter orbit," the state news agency quoted military sources as saying.
The satellite is known as CBERS-3 (China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite 3), or Ziyuan I-03 in Chinese. Ziyuan is the Chinese word for "resource".
In Brazil, the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) said in a statement that "there was a failure of the launcher during the flight and consequently the satellite was not positioned in the planned orbit".
"Preliminary evaluations suggest that the CBERS-3 returned to Earth."
The CBERS remote-sensing satellite programme grew out of a bilateral partnership agreement signed in 1988.
The satellite is based on the Chinese Ziyuan 1 design but includes Brazilian-designed mission payload.
Three satellites of the series were launched in 1999, 2003 and 2007 aboard Chinese-made Long March rockets.
CBERS-3 was originally scheduled to be launched in 2009, but the launch date was repeatedly postponed.
A CBERS-4 is scheduled to be launched in 2015.
China launched its first moon rover mission last week, the latest step in an ambitious space programme which is seen as a symbol of its rising global stature.
The rover -- known as Yutu, or Jade Rabbit -- is due to land on the moon in mid-December.
China sees its space programme as a symbol of its growing international status and technological advancement, as well as of the Communist Party's success in reversing the fortunes of the once impoverished nation.
It aims to establish a permanent space station by 2020 and eventually send a human to the moon.
by Dan De Luce © 2013 AFP
Source : AFP