According to SpaceNews, data from satellite images shows that China’s Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center experienced an explosion last year. Chinese media did not report on the incident.
Harry Stranger, a space enthusiast, was studying satellite images from Airbus and CNES and suddenly discovered an explosion at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, China. Harry posted the information he gathered on his Twitter on June 10.
Commercial satellite imagery shows the explosion at the center’s South satellite launch pad in October 2021. The location of this pad is 40°50’13.3″N, 100°10’31.8″E.
After using Sentinel-2 images combined with high-resolution images, Harry found that the explosion occurred between October 10 and October 17, 2021. Remnants of the explosion were then cleaned up.
Space News observed another image from the Planet’s Super Dove satellite, confirming that the explosion occurred between 11:16 pm on October 14 and 12:07 am on October 16 (Beijing time).
Around the time of the alleged explosion, the Jiuquan rocket launch center made the flight for the Shenzhou-13 crew. The exact time was 2:23 p.m. (Beijing time) on October 16 last year.
The newspaper said it was unclear what the (exploded) facility was for and what caused it to explode. The explosion was likely related to the testing and assembling of solid rockets operated by entities other than the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).
Chinese media did not report on the incident.
Vision Times said, instead, the Chinese media only published some news about the successful delivery of astronauts and equipment to the Tiangong Space Station.
The newspaper added that Chinese media also did not report or underreport many of the earlier explosions.
For example, on April 29, 2021, the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan Province launched the Long March 5B Yao-2 Rocket carrying the Tianhe space station core module into space.
The rocket’s 21-ton core rocket segment fell back to Earth “out of control.” It ended up falling into the Indian Ocean after 10 days of freefall.
At the time, NASA administrator Senator Bill Nelson said that nations with a developed space industry must minimize risks to people and property on Earth. At the same time, maximize transparency. ”It is clear that China is failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris.”
After the incident, Chinese authorities said the rocket was successful and on track.
Another case is that the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center launched the Long March 4B rocket carrying the Gaofen 11 satellite into orbit on September 7, 2020. The rocket flew 500 km when it crashed and exploded near people’s homes.
One of the rocket boosters suddenly fell from the sky and exploded on a hillside near a house, about 500 kilometers from the launch site.
Local netizens suggested that there was a possibility that the Chinese rocket engine could have completely lost control and crashed.