China’s last space launch of 2022, which lifted off on Thursday, Dec. 29, triggered a rocket space debris fall warning from the Philippine Space Agency.
A Chinese Long March 3B rocket launched Thursday from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center carrying the Shiyan-10 02 satellite will be used for in-orbit verification of new space technologies, such as space environment monitoring.
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Unburned rocket debris
After launch, the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) recommended “precautionary measures related to expected unburnt debris from the Long March 3B rocket” in a statement. (opens in a new tab).
PhilSA officials issued the advisory to all relevant government agencies on the estimated drop zone and offered to issue appropriate air and sea access warnings. The remains of the launch vehicle, such as the rocket boosters and the payload fairing, were to fall into a drop zone near Bank Recto.
“While not expected to fall on land features or populated areas in Philippine territory, falling debris poses a hazard and potential risk to ships, aircraft, fishing boats and other vessels that will pass through the drop zone,” according to a PhilSA statement.
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The actual drop zone, PhilSA added, can change due to various factors such as Earth’s rotation, weather and climate conditions.
“It is also possible that the debris floats around the area and moves towards nearby coasts. In addition, the possibility of an uncontrolled re-entry into the atmosphere of the upper stages of the rocket returning from space cannot be excluded. at the moment,” PhilSA said.
PhilSA reiterated its earlier public advisory to notify local authorities immediately if suspicious debris is sighted. PhilSA also warned the public against scavenging or coming into close contact with these materials that may contain remnants of toxic substances such as rocket fuel.
China’s Long March 3B launch on Thursday was the country’s second launch of the week.
On Tuesday, December 27, the country launched the Gaofen-11 04 satellite from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center. Gaofen-11 04 is an Earth observation satellite designed to be used “for land resource surveying, urban planning, road network design, crop yield estimation and disaster relief “, according to China Central Television.
Leonard David is the author of the book “Moon Rush: The New Space Race (opens in a new tab)“, published by National Geographic in May 2019. A longtime writer for Space.com, David has been reporting on the space industry for more than five decades. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom Or on Facebook (opens in a new tab).