World Media

Booster from Chinese rocket crashes to Earth near a small town

Booster from Chinese rocket crashes to Earth near a small town

"Though drop zones for Long March rocket stages are carefully calculated and launch notices and procedures put in places, events like the above are all too common, especially with China's space activities expanding greatly in recent years".

The Xichang Satellite Launch Center is near China's southern border with Myanmar, and more than 500 miles (800 km) from the ocean.

A Chinese Long March 3B rocket booster may have fallen from the sky and exploded near a town in southwest China today (Jan. 12) following a successful satellite launch, GBTimes reports.

Another video apparently shows the burning wreckage of a booster surrounded by onlookers in Guangxi province, according to a GB Times report.

As The Verge's Loren Grush notes, China seems perfectly fine launching their rockets from inland launchpads, unlike the USA, meaning the rockets fly over and shed parts over land, leading to incidents like that on Friday.

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A video originally shared on the Chinese social media platform Weibo shows the liquid fuel booster as it comes crashing down as witnesses scream in horror. However it is only used for the Long March 5 and 7 rockets, which have only just debuted in the last two years.

The powerful Long March 3B rocket, used to carry satellites to medium and geosynchronous Earth orbits, is nearly 55 metres long, with a diameter of 3.35 metres on the core stage. The orbit was tilted 55 degrees to the equator.

Named for the Chinese word for the Big Dipper constellation, the Beidou constellation achieved an initial operating capability with coverage over the Asia-Pacific region in 2012.

China is also developing the homegrown Beidou navigation network as an alternative to the US-run Global Positioning System.

The third-generation satellites now being launched by China feature higher-performance rubidium and hydrogen atomic clocks, inter-satellite links, improved spatial signal accuracy, better compatibility with other countries' navigation satellites, and offer search-and-rescue services, according to a Chinese government release published on the Beidou program's official website. It consists of two separate satellite constellations; a limited test system that has been operating since 2000, and a full-scale global navigation system that is now under construction.


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