Rocket debris from China’s recent satellite launch fell to the ground near a residential area, and a witness caught the violent touchdown on tape.
of China National Space Administration I started two satellite It was launched into orbit from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province at 10:26 pm ET on Monday (December 25) (03:26 December 26 Japan time, 11:26 am local time in China). The Long March 3B rocket carried two satellites for China’s Beidou Navigation Satellite System, which is roughly equivalent to the GPS system used in North America.
Although the satellite successfully delivered to the medium, earth In orbit (MEO), the side booster of a Long March 3B multi-stage rocket fell to Earth and landed in the Guangxi region of southern China. SpaceNews.com reported.
Related: China launches Beidou navigation satellite into orbit (video)
bystander footage Shared by X A post by space journalist Andrew Jones from Weibo (official Twitter) shows one of the boosters apparently lying in a wooded area. The video shows an explosion. There were also reports that debris from other boosters also fell near homes.
Note: Although it has been a while, this type of falling booster action was a feature of the Long March 3B launch of the Beidou satellite from Xichang. https://t.co/rRM0mQ2g0p https://t.co/UnFXaoGgC4 pic.twitter.com/7XkRCTFLaWDecember 26, 2023
According to SpaceNews, “The presence of reddish-brown gas or smoke, indicative of nitrogen tetroxide, was seen in both buildings, and yellowish gas, likely the result of unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine (UDMH) fuel mixing with air, was present next to the building. You can see it at “.com.
“The Long March 3B’s first stage and four side boosters use a highly concentrated propellant that combines hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide. Both the nitrogen tetroxide oxidizer and UDMH fuel pose serious health risks. ”
This is not the first rocket booster associated with Hokuto. satellite launch It is reported that it fell near inhabited areas. In 2019, a booster (which provides the thrust needed for launch and then separates from the main stage) fell to Earth after liftoff, destroying a house, according to reports.
China has also been criticized multiple times for causing its giant Long March 5 rocket to fall back to Earth on its own after launching its heavy launch system, causing space debris.
China has inland launch sites, as opposed to coastal launch sites, where rocket debris can fall into the ocean. Prior to such rocket launches, public announcements and evacuations are issued to warn residents of the potential danger from rocket fragments.
As the 57th and 58th Beidou satellites to be launched, the pair will serve as a backup and reduce operational risks for the Beidou 3 system, which consists of satellites in MEO, geostationary earth orbit (GEO) and inclined orbit. geostationary orbit (IGSO). This satellite network ensures continuous and stable signal coverage of China’s global navigation system.