China today successfully used its Long March 4D rocket to put a weather satellite into orbit, launching from its Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China.
A short clip of the launch is available here [Hat tip Jay]. The material falling from the rocket are insulation panels that are intended to fall off in this manner.
Apparently, the flight path took it over Taiwan.
For six hours, air and maritime traffic was disrupted north of Taiwan. The maritime safety administration of Fujian, the Chinese province located opposite Taiwan, warned of a “possible fall of debris from a launcher.”
Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said it monitored what it described as a military launch and confirmed having “detected some debris falling into the northern waters of Taiwan.” 33 flights were affected, Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration said, quoted by Reuters.
The leaders in the 2023 launch race:
3 Rocket Lab
American private enterprise still leads China 27 to 16 in the national rankings, though it is now tied with the rest of the world combined at 27.
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