China launches Sino-French astrophysics satellite, debris falls on populated areas

Hausjärvi, Finland—The Chinese launch of a joint Sino-French SVOM mission to study gamma-ray bursts saw toxic rocket debris fall in a populated area early Saturday morning.

A Long March 2C rocket launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center at 3:00 a.m. Eastern (0700 UTC) on June 22, sending the Space Variable Objects Observation (SVOM) mission satellite into orbit.

There was a launch declared The flight was successfully launched shortly after by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).

Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are violent electromagnetic bursts that release in a few seconds as much energy as the Sun has emitted over its entire 10-billion-year lifetime.

SVOM is a collaboration between the China National Space Administration (CNSA) and France’s National Center for Space Studies (CNES).

The mission will search for high-energy electromagnetic radiation from these events in the X-ray and gamma-ray ranges using two French- and two Chinese-built science payloads. These include the Microchannel X-ray Telescope (MXT), a narrow-field-optimized lobster-eye X-ray focusing telescope.

Studying GRBs, thought to be caused by the death of massive stars or interstellar collisions, can provide answers to key questions in astrophysics. These include the death of stars and the formation of black holes.

However, SVOM’s launch created its own explosion closer to home.

A video Published Chinese social media site Sina Weibo appears to show a rocket booster falling in a populated area.

According to another report, the booster fell to the ground near Guizhou County, Qiandongnan Province, Guizhou Province. Mail. The airspace closure notice for the mission established a temporary danger zone consisting of Guiding County, Guizhou.

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Several comments on the video mention the danger posed by the hypergolic propellant from the Long March rocket. Some comments on the post suggested the event was related to the failed recovery of SpaceX’s starship, while others suggested a US conspiracy.

Long March 2C uses a toxic, hypergolic mixture of nitrogen tetroxide and unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine (UDMH). Reddish-brown gas or smoke from the booster may indicate nitrogen tetroxide, while yellow gas may result from hydrazine fuel mixing with air.

Contact with residual fuel or oxidizer from the rocket stage can be extremely harmful to individuals.

Falling rocket debris from China’s three domestic launch sites is a common problem.

China’s first three launch sites were established during the Cold War. Bases deep inland were thus chosen to provide security amid tensions with the United States and the Soviet Union.

For areas deemed at risk by missile debris, authorities are understood to issue warnings and evacuation notices to reduce the risk of injuries.

SVOM’s launch is China’s 29th launch this year. China aims to launch about 100 times, including about 30 commercial missions, throughout 2024, CASC said.

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