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Rocket hiccup no jam-up for China

The failure to put a satellite into orbit earlier this week is only one bump on a long road of successes, said a space expert.

The setback occurred Monday when the third stage of a Chinese-made rocket failed to fire, causing the Indonesian telecom satellite Palapa D that it was carrying to miss its orbit.

The rocket, called the Long March 3B, was launched at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Southwest China's Sichuan province, one of the country's two major sites for rocket liftoffs. It is China's main launcher for commercial missions.

The mishap is the first glitch in a string of 75 successful launches for China's rocket program dating to October 1996, said Pang Zhihao, researcher and deputy editor-in-chief of the monthly Space International.

"At more than 90 percent, China has as high a success rate as Russia, the US and Europe in launching rockets," he said.

The Palapa D satellite, owned by Indonesian satellite communications company Indosat, was supposed to provide satellite links and broadcast services for Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries.

However, the satellite still has a chance to enter its preset orbit.

The satellite's manufacturer, French company ThalesAlenia Space, said the satellite has been captured and is now able to maneuver.

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 Source : China Daily  Editor: Ivy
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