EXTREME TURBULENCE was probably the cause of the loss of the Chinese Long March 2E booster T+51s after lift-off from Xichang on 26 January. Debris from the resulting explosion killed six people on the ground.

China Great Wall and Hughes - which made the destroyed $160 million HS-601 Apstar 2 communications satellite - released a joint statement on 26 July saying that windshear could have created extreme turbulence which either structurally damaged the rocket or the satellite.

The statement is almost as inconclusive as the explanation of another Long March 2E failure in December 1992, the Optus B2, which also destroyed a Hughes HS-601.

Source: Flight International