Watch China’s Rocket Crash And Blow Up In A Major Launch Debacle

hero china rocket explosion
A Chinese rocket crashed into a mountainside this weekend, scattering parts of the rocket and causing a large fire near the city of Gongyi City. Beijing Tianbing Technology, also known as Space Pioneer, was performing a static fire test of the Tianlong-3, when it unexpectedly lifted off.

According to a statement by Tianbing Technology, the rocket was ignited normally, and then a “failure of the structure of the arrow body and the test bed connection” caused the rocket to lift-off. After lifting off, the rocket ran out of fuel and then crashed into a hillside 1.5km southwest of the test rig. Footage of the rocket’s demise quickly spread across social media over the weekend.

According to the Gongyi emergency management bureau, parts of the rocket fell in a “safe area,” but caused a local fire. The fire has since been extinguished, and no injuries were reported. While scenarios like this are not unheard of in China, it is a rare occurrence for a rocket to make an unscheduled lift-off.

Rockets can be comprised of several stages, with the first stage being what ignites and propels the rocket upward during launch. While Tianbing Technology reported the first stage of the Tianlong-3 ignited normally, it added there was a “structural failure” of the launch moorings meant to hold the rocket on the ground.

Tianbing Technology has seen success in the past. In April 2023, the company successfully launched a kerosene-oxygen rocket, the Tianlong-2, making it the first privately owned Chinese company to launch a liquid-propelled rocket into space.

The Tianlong-3 being tested, also known as Sky Dragon 3, is a partly reusable rocket similar to SpaceX’s Falcon 9. Tianbing Technology remarked it is the most powerful rocket being tested by China at the moment. Since development began on Tianlong-3, the privately owned company says its “thrust test” has doubled.