'Flash in the night sky' turns out to be sign of lost Chinese satellite

China confirmed that the satellite Shiyan-10 was lost, despite a successful liftoff on Monday Sept. 27.
The Long March 3B rocket launched the Shiyan-10 satellite into space. It lifted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, southwest China at 4:20 a.m. ET (0820 GMT; 4 p.m. EST) Monday (Sept. 27).

China's second orbital launch of today was the spacecraft. It was launched after the Jilin-1 Gaofen 02D satellite. The Kuaizhou-1A rocket carried the spacecraft. It lifted off from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, northwest China, at 2:19 AM EDT (619 GMT; 2:19 PM local time). The spacecraft entered orbit successfully, according to reports.

Video: China launches an Earth observation satellite as part of its return to flight in a rocket

Related: China's latest space news

On Sept. 27, 2021, a Kuaizhou-1A rocket launched Jilin-1 Gaofen 02D from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China. (Image credit CCTV

On Tuesday, September 28, the Chinese state media issued a statement confirming that the Shiyan-10 satellite failed. It claimed that the spacecraft was not operating as expected and had been lost following a normal flight the previous day, SpaceNews reported.

Twitter reported that "a flash in night sky" was observed over New South Wales, Australia shortly after liftoff on Monday. According to SpaceNews, the flash was probably caused by a fire on the Long March 3B rocket's upper stage. This suggested that the launch was on track.

Prior to launch, Long March 3B's payload name and purpose were not confirmed. Data from the U.S. Space Force indicated that the payload was aiming for a geosynchronous orbit around Earth. A few hours later, an object was catalogued and it was confirmed that the Shiyan-10 satellite had separated from the rocket’s upper stage.

Although the Long March 3B launch vehicle performed as expected, the launch of the Shiyan-10 satellite was marred by abnormal operating conditions. The launch was declared a failure on Tuesday, September 28th.

China's Kuaizhou-1A rocket was also back in action Monday (Sept. 27, 2017). This marks the rocket's first flight since Sept. 2020 when it failed to launch the Jilin-1 Gaofen 02C satellite to orbit. SpaceNews reported that the rocket delivered the Jilin-1 Gaofen 02D satellite into orbit.

Jilin-1 Gaofen 02D, a high-resolution satellite for Earth observation, is part of China’s Jilin-1 constellation which consists of 138 high-performance optical remote-sensing satellites.

Monday's launches were China's 35th- and 36th orbital launches in 2021. China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. (CASC) carried out the launches. This year, they are targeting more than 40 missions.

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