Watch Chinese Rocket Stage Crash & Explode Near Town

This video shows a stage from the Long March 3B booster crashing down near a town in China. The rocket launched a pair of Beidou navigation satellites from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center on Thursday.

China has launched five satellites on three rockets so far this year. The launches include:

Jan. 9
Long March 2D
Superview 3 & 4 Earth observation satellites
Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center

Jan. 11
Long March 3B
2 Beidou navigation satellites
Xichang Satellite Launch Center

Jan. 12
Long March 2D
Ludikancha Weixing-3 defense satellite
Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    Those poor towns people. I sure hope all the residual propellants burned off. Those people are in for a wold of hurt if it did not.

    I’ve been waiting for the Chinese and Russians to parachute these liquid strap on boosters to soft landings as a first attempt at re-use.

  • MzUnGu

    Nothing like the smell of un-burn hydrazines in the morning…

  • randy carson

    I guess I’m not the only one wondering about how much hydrazine was on that thing. Of course with the normal air quality there they probably wouldn’t even notice it.

  • randy carson

    I went away from this story thing “well, at least it isn’t a Proton, which uses hydrazine for it’s main engine propellant. Looked up the Long March 3B on Wikipedia, and it uses UDMH and nitrogen tetroxide for the first and second stages. Life in that village is going to suck for a while.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Space.com reports this was one of the four strap-on boosters from the Long March 3B launch. Which means three more landed out of sight in the area. The first stage would have impacted further on.

    https://www.space.com/39373-rocket-falls-from-sky-and-explodes-in-chinese-town.html

    It also notes that since the village is in the normal drop zone they regularly go out with their cameras hoping to catch an impact. With 40 plus launches this year they should have many opportunities. Welcome to launch safety Chinese style 🙂

    I expect after it cools the metal from the booster will go to scrap dealers where they will use it to make products to export to the U.S. and another nations. BTW a good part of the world will get to join in when their space station impacts in a couple of months from now when it’s orbit decays.

  • Michael Halpern

    yeah the dark red flame and smoke is a giveaway of hypergolic,

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  • Michael Halpern

    Generally if it isn’t a typical flame color and its a liquid propellant engine, it’s usually hypergolic, there are some exceptions obviously, and hypergolics don’t always give off such a distinctive hue, but even so.

    That said a lot of rockets use limited hypergolics, even F9, in the form of TEA/TEB but very few for primary propulsion. It isn’t just a matter of environmental concern, hypergolics are notoriously difficult to handle making them only economical if you don’t have any other liquid propellant engine that can cover your needs. China only recently decided to move away from hypergolics, which means they have a long way to go before that is evident in practice, as non hypergolic liquid propellant rockets are not easy,

  • ThomasLMatula

    It was identified as one of the strap on boosters by Space.com That means the fuel would be N2O2/UDMH

  • ajp

    Right when the video cuts to the close up, you can actually hear one of the villagers gagging and spitting. Wow.

  • publiusr

    A cool sight any child would love to see–until it hits his house…