China is second to only the united states in terms of overall space spending, making china incredible progress beyond the realms of earth and even becoming the first country to land on the far side of the moon last year. However, despite all of this progress, it does come with a dark side in an effort to catch up with stronger space powers like the united states, russia and europe. Over the last few decades, safety standards within the chinese space program have fallen by the wayside. This often means launching rockets over populated areas where discarded rocket debris can cause major destruction and even death to small villages that lay in the path of a rocket’s launch. Just this past month, china launched one of their long march 4b rockets again bringing these lacks chinese safety standards to the forefront. This three stage rocket, which was carrying an earth observation satellite discharged the first stage booster shortly after launch, which came plummeting down to earth crashing near several villages in northwest china and just narrowly missing a school what’s worse, is that china uses a dangerous hypergolic mix of Fuel that is proven to be extremely toxic, leaving areas where these rockets crash uninhabitable for some time and what’s even worse, is that this is not just one isolated incident. This is just one example of dozens of first stage rockets that have fallen and hit nearby villages within the range of launch sites over the past few decades, rather than say, change where rockets are launched from the chinese government prefers to just send out short warnings to Local villages right before a launch occurs.
That literally says: if you see any flying objects falling from the sky, please adjust your location quickly to avoid any harm. Nothing like running away from an incoming rocket right, but why does china have this problem, while other countries simply do not a lot of it has to do with where rockets are launched from in the designated launch path, you see to launch a rocket into space and Achieve orbit, it must achieve a high enough horizontal velocity relative to the earth to maintain orbit in today’s modern era. This is most often performed by building rockets with multiple stages such that as each stage expends all of its fuel. It will decouple from the rest of the rocket and fall back to earth, while the remainder of the rocket continues on its designated trajectory now. Certainly, companies like spacex have perfected the art of landing these earlier stages, but the conventional way of disposing of the first stage of a rocket is to just let it fall back to earth. As a result of this most space faring nations choose to build their launch pads near a coast or at least a very sparsely populated area and further angle, the launch away from any cities or towns to prevent any rocket stages or launch mishaps from accidentally falling and Causing harm, thus, why the united states, for instance, most often launches from cape canaveral in the state of florida, where they can launch rockets out over the ocean with very little risk.
But this is not the only criteria for selecting a launch location. It is also extremely valuable to be located on an eastern coast, so that rockets, which most often launch eastward, can make use of the earth’s west to east spin. While some west coast locations can be used, such as the vandenberg space launch complex located in california. A launch at this location must angle the launch in a different direction, sometimes even going against the spin of the earth requiring more fuel and becoming less efficient and what’s. More is that the rate of the spin of the earth is at its highest near the equator. So locating launch locations as close to the equator as possible is also extremely valuable. This can literally give rockets a speed boost of almost 1 000 miles per hour, which brings it well on its way to the 000 miles per hour required to achieve a stable orbit. Thus this is why literally thousands of rocket launches have occurred at cape canaveral, since the dawn of the space era began. So with all this in mind, why would china literally build their three launch sites without almost any regard for any of this criteria? Well, it all goes back to the early 1950s during the cold war and when china was under the rule of mao zedong. It was at this time that china had hopes of eventually matching the ballistic missile capabilities of the soviet union and the united states and the chinese leader insisted that these launch sites be as far away as possible from its international borders and well out of reach of Any enemies, perhaps at the time this was a good idea.
However, no one could have anticipated that this would someday have complicated the chinese rocket industry much more than it would have helped. It truly is hard to know just how many chinese citizens have been killed by the nation space program, but the count certainly isn’t zero. In february of 1996, for instance, the launch of intel sat 708 commercial satellite went horribly wrong, as it veered off course, just after liftoff and struck a village downrange. Reportedly, this incident killed six people, but not everybody agrees on that number. The point here being that almost 25 years later after this horrible disaster and china continues to play this terrible game of space booster bingo, where, if you happen to be unlucky enough, a rocket may just land in a city near you. Fortunately, however, it does seem that china is making some changes in the future that will start to alleviate the problem. Roughly a decade ago, china began construction on its fourth launch site on the island province of hainan and just off the south china sea. Not only will this provide a better launch location from a safety standpoint as they can launch rockets to both the east and the south, but it is also much closer to the equator sitting, just 19 degrees north of it and giving rockets a much needed. Speed boost to access orbital velocity, although the site is now operational, few launches have occurred as it only supports some of china’s, most modern rockets and therefore older legacy.
Rockets that continue to be launched pose a serious threat to rural villages. Hopefully, however, as china transitions more and more to this launch site, coupled along with the fact that china is also hoping to reuse rockets, similar to how spacex is doing so today, this will allow for much safer space travel in the near future and eliminate the risk Of falling space debris for rural chinese villagers for good. Thank you so much for watching this video and i just wanted to say that i apologize for the lack of videos over the past couple of months due to some additional requirements from my day job. I have just not had the time to dedicate towards producing the top quality content that you as a viewer deserve. However, the good news is that i should be able to continue creating videos from this point forward, at least on a bi weekly basis. I do really enjoy creating these videos and i hope you look forward to watching them too.lD10fV7E_qM