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During China’s Long March 3B launch on March 9, engineers tested the use of parachutes and “control devices” on the rocket’s first stage in order to better position the stage’s crash.
After the booster separated from the rocket, the parachutes opened in a sequence to control its attitude and direction, and data of the fall trajectory and landing site were sent to ground control in Xichang, southwest China’s Sichuan Province.
…It took just 25 minutes for staff to find the debris, compared to hours or up to a fortnight previously, [according to the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT)].
The article from China’s state-run press at the link also bragged that they have been working on this new technology for a decade. That I think is a lie. The Long March 3B was developed in the 1990s and, until SpaceX successfully proved it possible to land a first stage in 2015, there was no hint they were doing anything to protect their citizens from crashing first stages.
Only in the past years have they performed any tests of such technology, including grid fins that appeared clearly stolen from SpaceX’s design. It is good that they are finally doing this, but their lack of interest in protecting their own citizens beforehand tells us quite a lot of both Chinese culture and the communist/socialist/fascist dictatorship that leads it.