Is It a Bird, Is It a Plane? No, It’s a Falling Rocket (Photos)

    The remains of a Chang Zheng 3A rocket plunge back to earth. (Image: 163.com)Crowds gather to inspect the fuselage near a lingering cloud of hydrazine propellant. (Image: 163.com)Part of the rocket was embedded in the ground. (Image: 163.com)Locals inspect part of the rocket launcher. (Image: China News)Police cordoned off the area prior to removing the debris. (Image: China News)

    A reporter in Guizhou Province struck gold when he managed to capture these images of a rocket plummeting back to earth.

    The incident happened in Fuquan County on Jan. 2, after the booster successfully delivered a geostationary meteorological satellite into orbit, according to 163.com.

    The Chang Zheng 3A rocket had been carrying the Fengyun-2G satellite, and blasted off at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan Province to close out 2014, NASA reported.

    The first stage burned nearly 200 tons of a toxic flammable mixture of hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide propellants in the first few minutes of the launch. An orange cloud of hydrazine can be seen lingering over the wreckage.

    As well as forecasting weather, and monitoring environmental changes, the satellite has a space weather instrument. State media Xinhua said it was the 203rd time a rocket in this family has been used for a launch. It crashed over 300 miles east of the launch pad.

    The trajectory of the rocket stages can be calculated to make sure the boosters don’t hit residential areas, but in China this doesn’t seem to happen, and sometimes they land in farmers’ fields or even damage property.

    Bloggers commented on the news via 163.com:

    One wrote: “Was anybody hurt by the falling debris?”

    Another said: “They were well-prepared for it to fall down in that area.”

    A third commented:

    When police came they wore face masks but the locals had none and even touched the broken device with their hands.

    Research by Mona

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