Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/05/29/rocket_crash_china/

Chinese rocket parts land on village

30kg piece of wreckage takes out power lines, shocks locals

By Phil Muncaster

Posted in Science, 29th May 2012 06:28 GMT

Residents of a remote Chinese village became unwitting participants in China’s much-vaunted space program over the weekend when debris from a recently launched carrier rocket took out a 10 kilovolt (kv) power line and damaged several houses.

The Long March 3B rocket launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in western Sichuan province at 23.56 Beijing time on Saturday, carrying telecommunications satellite ChinaSat 2A into orbit.

However, unspecified parts of the carrier vehicle fell to earth hundreds of miles away in Suining County, Hunan province, China Daily reported.

A 30kg piece of debris is thought to have crashed to earth just after midnight on Sunday morning, taking out the electricity supply. One local apparently suffered a shock when they touched the wreckage.

It may be wise for local residents to ready themselves, however that is possible, for repeats of the incident as the People’s Republic has ambitious plans to launch a comprehensive array of “Earth observation satellites” over the next few years and is still in the process of building out its Beidou satellite navigation system which will directly challenge the United States military’s GPS.

The Long March-5 and Long March-7 rockets should be ready for their respective maiden flights in within the next five years, while a new heavy-thrust carrier rocket is being developed which could set the scene for manned Moon and deep space expeditions in the future.

The government is also hoping that its Tiangong-1 space lab can form the first piece of a space station planned for completion by 2020. ®