15.02.

1996: Catastrophic Launch of the Chinese Long March 3B Rocket

1996: Catastrophic Launch of the Chinese Long March 3B Rocket
Photo Credit To http://www.nycaviation.com/newspage/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/long-march-rocket-crash-630-620x413.jpg

The rocket stalled during launch, and then crashed into an inhabited area, killing some of the inhabitants. The explosion was so powerful that it left the local village in ruins.

 

On this day in 1996 a catastrophe took place during the launching of the Chinese Long March 3B (Chang Zheng 3B) rocket. These rockets weigh over 425 tons and stand around 55 meters tall. The rocket launched on this day was supposed to take the American-produced Intelsat 708 satellite into orbit. The rocket stalled during launch, and then crashed into an inhabited area, killing some of the people there.

 

The launch took place at the Chinese Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southern China (Sichuan province). A village was located only a few kilometers from the launch site. The rocket stalled at the very beginning of its flight, and leaned towards a horizontal position. After a few seconds of flying in such a manner, its nose turned towards the ground while its engines were still online. Eventually – and absurdly – the rocket started flying towards the ground with its engines online. The explosion was so strong that it left the mentioned village in ruins. According to official Chinese media, six people were killed in the disaster, but some believe the real number is much higher, perhaps even several hundred.

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