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Evidence of explosion in ’21 detected from orbital images of Chinese launchpad

Explosion at Chinese spaceporty
Click for full image.

Using orbital images, an amateur space observer has detected evidence that an explosion had occurred at the Chinese Jiuquan spaceport some time in October 2021.

Evidence of the explosion was discovered by space enthusiast Harry Stranger using imagery from Airbus and CNES and posted on Twitter June 10.

The incident occurred at facilities constructed around 16 kilometers to the southwest of Jiuquan’s two main launch complexes. The pair of launch pads are used by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) for hypergolic Long March rocket launches for human spaceflight, civil, military and scientific missions and were unaffected by the blast.

…Further satellite imagery from Planet’s Super Dove satellites seen by SpaceNews indicates that the explosion occurred between 0316 UTC on Oct. 15 and 0407 UTC Oct. 16 (11:16 p.m, Oct. 14 and 12:07 a.m. October 16 Eastern).

At almost exactly the same time China had launched a manned mission from this same spaceport, so the explosion apparently was not related to that launch. Instead, the images suggest that this was related to testing of solid rockets, and could be related as well to the delay in any further launches of the Kuaizhou-11 rocket. According to a press release several months earlier, that rocket was being prepared for a launch by the end of 2021, but no such launch ever occurred.

Conscious Choice cover

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

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3 comments

  • Jay

    Looks like an accidental ignition of the solid rocket. Half of that building has been blown apart. I bet this was the assembly building (moveable?). Looking at the shadows I see the tower, a gantry, and the assembly building. The building in the upper right is probably their launch control.
    Great photos. I would love to see the scale on them. I doubt Google Earth shows this!

  • Jeff Wright

    -also a set-back for solid ICBM work. They claim their FAST dish heard aliens. Time to make a Meteor Crater dish and go one better.

  • Andi

    Interesting that from the angle of the shadows, the pictures appear to have been taken at approximately the same time of day, with the differing shadow lengths due to the five-week period between the pictures.

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