A Chinese Long March 2D space rocket which delivered three surveillance satellites to orbit in June 2022 has reentered Earth’s atmosphere over continental US on March 7, 2023.
It’s not known for certain if any of rocket’s fragments reached the ground, as they may all have burned up during reentry. If any fragments failed to burn up, though, the debris field is believed to be hundreds of miles long, stretching across the state of Texas, authorities said.
The rocket that reentered the atmosphere had been launched on June 23, 2022, from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan, China.
The rocket carried three Yaogan remote sensing satellites. One of the primary reconnaissance satellites of People’s Liberation Army of China, the Yaogan can feature a variety of payloads, from imaging to signals intelligence systems.
Both stages of the Long March 2D are expendable. The second of them enters uncontrolled descent back into atmosphere after delivering payload, a process which can take months or even years.
The mass of the second stage, when it broke up over Texas, is believed to have been around four tons.
R&I – TxPAT