Chinese forum Weibo
A video posted on shows the first taikonauts flying to China’s new space station last week. Shenzhou 12 space flight claims to show the remnant, burnt wreckage. Also from the debris is a highly toxic compound used as an oxidizer in rocket fuel. nitrogen tetroxide seems to be leaking gas with a striking color.
According to the video’s description, the wreckage was found at 9:30 am on the Otog Sanjak (a starboard in Southwest Inner Mongolia) in Ordos. A task force was formed to collect the wreckage, local residents were evacuated and prevented from entering the affected area. By 13:00 it was reported that all the wreckage had been found and removal efforts were underway.
A local media outlet reported that the task force consisted of the Armed Forces, Department of Human Resources, fire protection and other personnel who arrived at the scene and searched for core and reinforcement debris. Some pieces of debris fell near the crowded Qipanjing Town area, but no injuries were reported.
Some booster wreckage downrange of Jiuquan after the launch of Shenzhou-12, with hazardous orange nitrogen tetroxide oxidiser gas escaping https://t. co/oYcXvNht21 pic. twitter. com/1jK5AwexRX
— Andrew Jones (@AJ_FI) June 18, 2021
The wreckage belongs to one of the parts that enabled this launch after Shenzhou 12’s launch on 17 June. Shenzhou 12 was a crewed spaceflight, currently consisting of only core modules, carrying three taikonauts into orbit to board the new space station Tiangong, where they will stay for 90 days before returning. While the mission was a success, while placing all the taikonauts safely at the station, some of the wreckage was not found.
Rocket propellants carrying toxic chemicals that pose serious health risks, raising concerns about the safety of such debris spreading freely in areas surrounded by people. Chemicals such as nitrogen tetroxide (possibly bright yellow smoke rising from the booster) can cause serious lung damage, edema, and death when inhaled and should be professionally cleaned before civilians are safely returned to the area.
China has received a lot of criticism in recent months for controlling debris from rocket launches. In May, a falling Long March 5B rocket part caused worldwide speculation and panic as it moved uncontrollably through the atmosphere and overpopulated regions. At the time, it was unpredictable where it might land, and astronomers were worried it might land in an urban area.
Fortunately, somewhere far from civilization, safely landed in the Indian Ocean, but soon sparked calls for stricter regulations on emerging space debris. However, numerous Chinese launches have continued to build the space station, and it is not yet clear whether China has tightened its landing procedures. . .