Chinese launch company Landspace suffered failure Wednesday in what was the world’s first attempt to achieve orbit with a methane-fueled rocket, Report informs via SpaceNews.
The Zhuque-2 methane-liquid oxygen rocket lifted off from newly-constructed facilities at the national Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert at around 3:30 a.m. Eastern December 14.
Apparent spectator footage posted on Chinese social media showed the rocket ascending into clear skies, trailed by white exhaust. While the first stage is understood to have performed well, separate apparent leaked footage suggests that issues affecting the rocket’s second stage resulted in the failure of the mission.
The rocket has a diameter of 3.35 meters—the same as a number of national Long March rockets—-a total length of 49.5 meters, a take-off mass of 219 tons and producing 268 tons of thrust.