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Long March 2C first stage crashes into Chinese town

Footage showing the first stage from yesterday’s Long March 2C launch crashing into a city has now been released.

The Chinese government issues warnings and even evacuates areas calculated to be under risk of impact during these interior launches, but it appears that many locals stick around to film the event. I have embedded below the fold this most recent footage.

The fuel from the first stage of the Long March 2C is very toxic, so China is increasingly facing a bad PR problem they don’t want. They are using their space program, much like the Soviets did, to highlight China’s new first world status. Images of an out-of-control rocket crashing into populated areas does not serve that purpose well. Expect them to accelerate their efforts to either develop reusable first stages, and to abandon this launch site.

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From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

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  • Localfluff

    Their newest and largest launcher (the second launch of which failed), Long March 5, uses kerosene and oxygen. They seem to be on their way to abandon this poisonous stuff, just like Russia is giving up on their Proton. To the Chinese government there seems to be no problem with people getting killed, as long as it is kept a secret. It’s a Potemkin regime.

  • Col Beausabre

    In fairness, we managed to blow up a part of Juarez with a V-2 launched from White Sands many moons ago

    Result – Post Commander sacked, the new one instituted procedures from the Artillery School at Fort Sill and – most importantly – instituted the position of Range Safety Officer who had absolute responsibility for safety, could overrule anyone (including the range officer) and reported only to the Post Range Officer who reported directly to the CG. See G Harry Stine’s account of the early days of being a RSO in “Pushing the Button” in a 1980’s Analog.

  • Col Beausabre

    Also, we attacked Brazil with an intercontinental cruise missile

  • Col Beausabre: The difference between these two U.S. incidents and the Chinese first stage crashes is that both U.S incidents were unintended and unplanned, while the Chinese crashes are planned, part of their standard operating procedure. Depending on the required payload orbit, they know approximately both where and when the first stage will hit, which is why they evacuate these communities.

    Imagine trying this in the U.S. A lot of heads would roll, well before that first rocket got off the ground.

  • Edward

    Col Beausabre,
    A second difference is that those two events occurred early in unmanned flight test. The links you provided described the lessons learned and the fixes for future tests and operations.

    Chinese rocket bodies falling near populated areas is not new. The photos and videos look similar to ones that I have seen previously. (Indeed, they look so similar that I wonder whether this report is actually fake news.) The Chinese did not, long ago, learn any lessons from boosters falling from the sky near or into populated areas, preferring to call for evacuation rather than finding a fix for the problem.

  • Localfluff

    Why was there so much fuel left in the first stage if it was a planned “landing”? They normally don’t explode when they land, not that violently anyway, since there are photos around of intact crash landed Chinese boosters on land.

    During ww2 several test shots of V1 and V2 landed in Sweden from Peenemünde. That’s sloppy even by the standard of those days. Top secret weapon technology given away to the world. I mean, the Baltic Sea should be large enough to be a practice target, if you intend to hit London.

  • Anthony Domanico

    Am I the only one that is troubled by the notion of China gaining (by honest R and D or their more typical way of procuring new technology) reusable booster technology? This is a game changing tech and, although we can’t hope to be the sole users of it forever, I do hope it remains solely in the hands of a free people for as long as possible.

    I’m deeply concerned about our dwindling advantages over the Chinese government. Any government that is perfectly willing to kill it’s citizenry, and said citizenry has no real recourse, shouldn’t be allowed access to more power.

  • Cotour

    China, a Potemkin village? (With nukes.)

    China which has stolen and continues to steal most of their technology and are much more dependent upon America than America is dependent upon it is certainly a mixed bag. A Communist command economy country that has just “elected” themselves a president for life (Mandarin) and has aspirations of world domination.

    Is it me or does none of this make much sense?

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