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China launches Sino-French astrophysics satellite, debris falls over populated area


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China launches Sino-French astrophysics satellite, debris falls over populated area

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A Chinese launch of the joint Sino-French SVOM mission to study Gamma-ray bursts early Saturday saw toxic rocket debris fall over a populated area.

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

The launch was declared successful by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) a short time after liftoff. 

Read More: ➡️ SpaceNews

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Suspected debris from a Chinese rocket was seen plummeting to the ground over a village in southwest China on Saturday, leaving a trail of bright yellow smoke and sending villagers running, according to videos on Chinese social media and sent to CNN by a local witness. 

Markus Schiller, a rocket expert and associate senior researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, said the debris appeared to be the first-stage booster of the Long March 2C rocket, which uses a liquid propellant consisting of nitrogen tetroxide and unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine (UDMH).

“This combination always creates these orange smoke trails. It’s extremely toxic and carcinogenic,” Schiller said. “Every living being that inhales that stuff will have a hard time in the near future,” he added.

 

 

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