Second Launch of China's Long March 5, July 2017, Hainan Island, China

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The Long March-5 rocket has been created to carry a payload of around 25 tons into low Earth orbit and 14 tons in geostationary orbit.

China's ambitious space programme suffered a rare setback on Sunday as its new heavy-lift carrier rocket, the Long March-5 Y2 failed to put the country's largest satellite into orbit. An upper stage attached to the satellite was later able to correct the orbit.

The Long March-5 Y2 rocket takes off from Wenchang Satellite Launch Center in Wenchang, Hainan Province, China July 2, 2017.

However, 40 minutes after the launch, the Xinhua News Agency said the operation was "unsuccessful" and "abnormity was detected during the flight".

It was not clear whether the rocket had entered orbit before the failure occurred. At that time, China said it was the most powerful launcher it had yet developed.

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Xinhua reported last week the Long March-5 Y2 would be fuelled by liquid hydrogen, kerosene and liquid oxygen. That spacecraft would be China's second lunar lander mission and the first sample return mission by any nation in more than four decades.

The launch window opens on November 29, but the issues causing today's failure will need to be identified and resolved.

Dubbed "Chubby 5" for its huge size - five metres in diameter and 57 metres tall - the LM-5 rocket is created to carry up to 25 tonnes of payload into low orbit, more than doubling the country's previous lift capability. The core module of the station will be launched on a Long March 5 in 2018 or 2019.

The lunar modules and crewed capsule would dock in low-Earth orbit before heading to the Moon.