Chinese rocket stage appears to crash near school during Gaofen 11 satellite launch


A Chinese Long March 4B rocket successfully launched a new Earth-watching satellite Monday (Sep. 7) but the booster’s spent first stage narrowly missed a school when it fell back to Earth, witness videos show.

The Long March 4B rocket lifted off from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in  north China, at 1:57 p.m. local time  (1:57 a.m. EDT, 0557 GMT). It carried the powerful Gaofen 11 (02) Earth observation satellite, an optical observation satellite capable of returning high resolution images, showing features as smaller than 3 feet (1 meter) across. 

Related: The latest news about China’s space program 

A Chinese Long March 4B rocket launches the Gaofen 11 (02) Earth observation satellite into orbit from the Taiyun Satellite Launch Center on Sept. 7, 2020.  (Image credit: China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp )

Data returned by the Gaofen satellite will be mainly used for land surveys, city planning, land rights confirmation, road network design, crop yield estimation and disaster prevention and mitigation, according to Chinese media.



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