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China’s Long March 7A launches communications satellite; dumps debris on Philippines

China today launched its Long March 7A rocket from its coastal Wenchang spaceport, successfully placing a communications satellite into orbit.

The coastal launch site meant that the rocket’s lower stages would not fall on China’s interior. Instead, it appears the drop zones were located in the Philippines.

The [Philippines Space] agency said it was able to verify the estimated drop zones of the rocket debris from a notice by the Civil Aviation Administration of China. “Two drop zones within the Philippine territory have been identified based on the NOTAM: Drop zone 1 is approximately 71 kilometers from Burgos, Ilocos Norte, while drop zone 2 is approximately 52 kilometers away from Sta. Ana, Cagayan,” PhilSA said in an advisory.

No word on whether this debris caused any damage. Regardless, China is continuing its policy, in violation of the Outer Space Treaty, of recklessly dumping rocket stages on others.

The leaders in the 2022 launch race:

41 SpaceX
37 China
11 Russia
6 Rocket Lab

American private enterprise still leads China 56 to 37 in the national rankings, but is now tied with the entire world combined 56 to 56. This tie will likely not be long-lived. Though Firefly’s launch has been delayed until next week, SpaceX and Rocket Lab have launches scheduled for today and tomorrow, respectively.

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  • t-dub

    Having been in the Philippines I think it is unlikely that the drop zone would include land, lots of small islands. My “guess” is that it is most likely that everything just ended up in the ocean. This, of course, does not excuse the CCP from raining their space junk down on us as some debris can contain highly toxic hypergolic propellants which can be dangerous.

  • wayne

    The sooner we strike them, the better:


  • Larry

    The NOTAMs are quite clearly over Luzon, at least in part (I haven’t researched and verified them).

  • BLSinSC

    OK – name ONE Treaty that the Chinese HONOR!!!! I can’t wait long – I’m 70 and probably have only a couple of decades left!

  • jim

    Simple solution: Shoot ’em down so the debris falls over China…
    Not a serious comment. China just likes dumping on all their neighbors.

  • Unlike America, China is not in process of turning its majority into a minority.

  • Star Bird

    Providing that China is the worlds #1 Polluter its not a surprise

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