China’s Rocket Booster Comes Crashing Down near School

The Long March 4B rocket successfully launched an Earth-observing satellite.

Monday saw China launch its Long March 4B rocket up to space, which successfully transported an Earth-observing satellite into the skies. What didn't appear to be as successful, though, was the booster's landing. 

As per witness videos and reports, it appears that the booster's first stage came crashing down near a school.

The rocket was launched from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in Shanxi province, in north China at 1:57 pm Beijing time. 


Satellite up to space

The Long March 4B launched China's Gaofen 11 satellite, an observation satellite that snaps high-resolution images that depict features as small as 3 feet (1 meter) in width, per

Gaofen will be used mostly for land surveys, city planning, road networking, crop estimations, and disaster prevention, according to Chinese media

Gaofen 11 will be joining other satellites that are part of the China High-resolution Earth Observation System

Few official images of Monday's launch were shared, and so far, only amateur footage from witnesses have been posted online on Twitter and other social sites such as China's Weibo.

Plumes of orange smoke filled the sky

The footage was taken near Lilong village in Shaanxi province (per its author), neighboring the province where the launch took place, and it can be seen that large plumes of orange smoke float up to the sky near a local school. In the video, you can hear children's voices and the area that appears to be a schoolyard. 

Post-launch debris typically falls in uninhabited areas, hence the inland and sparsely-populated launch sites chosen, but this time seems to have seen debris landing nearer a town. 


The Gaofen 11 satellite was developed by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, and the Long March 4B rocket booster was built by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology.

Monday's launch was the 40th one China undertook this year, without counting commercial launch service providers who carry out their own missions, per

Follow Us on

Stay on top of the latest engineering news

Just enter your email and we’ll take care of the rest:

By subscribing, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. You may unsubscribe at any time.