Scroll down to read this post.


Please consider supporting my work here at Behind the Black. I keep the website clean from pop-ups and annoying demands. Instead, I depend entirely on my readers to support me. Though this means I am sacrificing some income, it also means that I remain entirely independent from outside pressure. By depending solely on donations and subscriptions from my readers, no one can threaten me with censorship. You don't like what I write, you can simply go elsewhere.


You can support me either by giving a one-time contribution or a regular subscription. There are five ways of doing so:


1. Zelle: This is the only internet method that charges no fees. All you have to do is use the Zelle link at your internet bank and give my name and email address (zimmerman at nasw dot org). What you donate is what I get.


2. Patreon: Go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation.

3. A Paypal Donation:

4. A Paypal subscription:

5. Donate by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman and mailed to
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652


You can also support me by buying one of my books, as noted in the boxes interspersed throughout the webpage or shown in the menu above. And if you buy the books through the ebookit links, I get a larger cut and I get it sooner.

Long March 2F booster that launched astronauts lands on public road in China

Long March 2F strap on booster after crashing onto public road
Click for full image.

One of the four strap-on boosters used to launch three astronauts to China’s new space station on June 16th ended up landing on a public road in China.

The photo to the right, uploaded at this twitter feed, shows the booster. The parachute cords at its top explain why it is so relatively undamaged. The Chinese are apparently experimenting with parachutes to slow and maybe even control its descent. They might even be planning to catch the stage before it hits the ground, using a plane or helicopter, as both ULA and Rocket Lab hope to do with their Vulcan and Electron rockets.

Of course, we do not know this, as the Chinese tell us nothing.

Note that the hypergolic fuels, such as the hydrazine used in this booster, are extremely toxic. The person who took this picture is in very great danger, even if he or she does not know it.

Potential routes of hydrazine exposure include dermal, ocular, inhalation and ingestion.

Hydrazine exposure can cause skin irritation/contact dermatitis and burning, irritation to the eyes/nose/throat, nausea/vomiting, shortness of breath, pulmonary edema, headache, dizziness, central nervous system depression, lethargy, temporary blindness, seizures and coma. Exposure can also cause organ damage to the liver, kidneys and central nervous system. Hydrazine is documented as a strong skin sensitizer with potential for cross-sensitization to hydrazine derivatives following initial exposure.

Not that the Chinese government really cares. They have been dumping these boosters on their own people for decades, and only recently have apparently begun to look into ways of controlling their descent.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • Mark

    That’s a picture of a Chinese Landing Pad for their boosters. C’mon Man., give them a break, they have not yet been able to steal that SpaceX technology. Darn that Musk and his cyber hacking defense team!

  • David Telford

    wash it down and auction it off to the world’s various museums.

    it does take a certain _gall_ to operate like this. wow. no wonder they don’t do popular elections.

  • Captain Emeritus

    91 million members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), enslave
    1.444 Billion, Chinese peasants.
    Only 6.3% of the population.

  • wayne

    “Physical Removal of the CCP”

  • Jeff Wright

    The kid in me would think it kinda cool. If it weren’t toxic, I’d put it on wheels. Here-we are sue happy. There? A dirt farmer might swell with pride to see this futurist diversion from the mundane.

  • I’m well aware of the consequences here, but my first reaction was LOL. Not the usual on your way to work.

  • jeff

    not sure if this is applicable, main engines vs boosters, sometimes , always. Manley say China uses both types of fuel. Either way, your points in the post are valid.

  • Col Beausabre

    Early US launch vehicles like Vanguard used Red Fuming Nitric Acid (RFNA) and Unsymmetrical Dimethyl Hydrazine (UDMH) as hypergolic fuel and oxidizer in the second stage. Is hydrazine toxic? You be the judge

    and RFNA is just as bad

    Don’t think I’d liking working in the pit crew at the Cape back then….

  • To be fair, both of these apply to America, too:
    it does take a certain _gall_ to operate like this.
    You mean like blowing up entire islands with atomic bombs? Granted that they were isolated islands (that we surrounded with ships), but still.

    A dirt farmer might swell with pride to see this futurist diversion from the mundane.
    You mean like finding it in your field in the 1950s? I’d bet many American farmers, with visions of Tom Swift and his Atomic Airplane or Tom Corbett – Space Cadet, would have that reaction.

    That doesn’t mean this is not irresponsible, but we do need to beware of mounting high horses.

  • pzatchok

    We can mount our high horse any time we want. We are American. And free.

    The point of the article though was that China does not care about it own people very much or is just too stupid to learn from out 70 year old mistakes.
    Either way they are idiots and we have learned.

  • pzatchok

    As for the parachute, they might be trying to bring them down slow enough to keep them from rupturing the fuel tanks.
    A cheap way to keep their people safe.
    It would be better to launch from the coast like we do but they are afraid someone might see their secret stuff if they used the coast,

  • Gary: Not much there that hasn’t been covered before here on BtB.

Readers: the rules for commenting!


No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.


However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.


Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *