Chinese Rocket Crashes After Accidentally Launching During Test

A commercial Chinese rocket accidentally launched during a ground test on Sunday, climbing into the air before crashing into a nearby mountain and exploding in flames, the private company that owns the rocket said.

Because of a “structural failure,” the Tianlong-3 rocket separated from its testing platform while its propulsion system was being tested and lifted off from its launchpad, the rocket’s owner Space Pioneer said in a statement. The accident occurred at 3:43 p.m. local time on Sunday at a test facility in Gongyi city in central China’s Henan Province, the statement said.

After launching, the onboard computer automatically shut down, and the rocket fell into a hilly area about one mile from the test site, the statement said. No one was injured, the statement said, adding that the crash site was far from residential areas and the company had worked with local authorities before the test to evacuate nearby areas.

Videos posted by Chinese news media and on social media appeared to show the rocket climbing before it loses power and plunges, exploding in a nearby hill.

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