A rocket debris has been discovered downrange from a recent rocket launch from Xichang in southwest China.
The objective of the launch activity is to send the Chinese Beidou navigation satellite in geosynched transfer orbit. The rocket used was the Long March 3B rocket that was sent up on March 9.
All went well and the satellite was placed into orbit with no problems, the side booster of the three-stage rocket fell in downrange from the launching site.
The 2.25 diameter rocket component was stuck in the ground, based on social media video.
It was a relief that the ejected booster did not strike private property, that did happen with a launch in November 2019, last year. More to be thankful for is the booster could have endangered the life of anyone on the crash site.
：https://t.co/FhVr3G6sB6 pic.twitter.com/a3OLK1T3GA — LaunchStuff (@LaunchStuff) March 9, 2020
Generally, the places were rocket debris lands is not always under control, with a random element not always knowing where it hits.
In the social media post, the location of the splashdown rocket debris is not mentioned at all. Though, comments on the video took note that the local dialectical accents are that of Guizhou. The region is also matched to the airspace closed off by China, before the launch start.
All the areas marked for close in the surrounding air space is called the drop zone. Drop zones are calculated, areas, where any equipment can be struck by a splash downed component, are given notice, before the launch date.
It is SOP for these civilians in affected areas to evacuate these zones and keep away from any equipment or wreckage on the ground for safety. The propellant used for these China rockets can contaminate, also toxic as well.
There is a logic why the first rocket launch sites were found inland. During the cold war, they were located for mostly security reasons. Whenever a booster is sent up, they will most likely splashdown in plots of land, dropping segments and stages in sequence, on land not in bodies of water.
Past failed rocket launch
In 2016, China opened the ambitious coastal Wenchang spaceport that was dedicated to launching brand new rockets with technology updates. It was in March 16 that the new Long March 7A rocket from Wenchang spaceport. Launching was a dismal failure and did not succeed at all.
China's ageing Long March 3B needed an update, the west has many years ahead in the field, so China aspires to outdo them. From the older Long March 3B, that was obsolete too and to lessen the dangers of falling rocket equipment debris.
It did not work and the launch was a failure due to an unknown problem. Worse is the equipment in the payload bay did not reach orbit at all. The technical problem with the launcher needs to be fixed and grounded until such notice of resolving the problem.
So, far there have been six launches from the coastal Wenchang spaceport, only one of the five rockets launched failed too. Reaching a goal of 40 launches in 2020, in the spaceport will make it busy as a premier Chinese launch site.
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