Amazing Imagery Captures Plummeting Chinese Rocket Seen by Villagers

Amazing images of falling rocket debris from a spent Chinese booster were captured in the final moments of its plummet back to Earth outside a remote village located in southwest China.

The images were taken by a photo journalist during the final seconds of the descent of the first stage of the Long March 3A rocket carrier as it was crashing to the ground by the village of Gaopingsi in southwest China’s Guizhou province on December 31, 2014.

Local villagers soon gathered around the rocket crash debris.

The rocket incident and images were featured online by the state-run China New Service (CNS) website. Checkout the photo gallery herein.

First stage debris of Long March 3A rocket carrier crashes outside Gaopingsi village of southwest China’s Guizhou province on December 31, 2014. Photo:

“A journalist captured the moment the debris was falling across the sky,” according to CNS.

No injuries or damage to the local village was reported.

“The landing did not influence the local villagers or bring any damages.”

The Long March 3A rocket debris stems from the successful launch of a Chinese meteorological satellite, some minutes earlier at 9:02 am local time on Wednesday, December 31, 2014.

Villagers gather around the debris of Long March 3A rocket carrier on December 31, 2014. Photo:

The photographer and local villagers made their way to the crash site and captured spectacular up close photos of the first stage rocket, engine and related debris that had fallen in a heavily forested area.

Chinese security officials eventually arrived, evacuated the villagers and cordoned off the area.

Soldiers and police arrive at Gaopingsi village of southwest China’s Guizhou province on December 31, 2014, to carry the debris of Long March 3A rocket carrier away. Photo:

The rocket and Fengyun-II 08 satellite lifted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China’s Sichuan province.


Fengyun-II 08 successfully achieved orbit. It will collect meteorological, maritime and hydrological data and transmit information that will be used for weather forecasting and environmental monitoring according to a CCTV report.

Since the Long March rockets blast off from China’s interior in Sichuan province, they flies over long swathes of land area and near some populated areas and occasional fall nearby and can occasionally cause damage.


The situation is similar with Russian rockets launching from Baikonur in Kazahzstan.

By contrast, US and European rockets take off from coastal areas towards oceans. They avoid most populated areas, but not all. The flight termination system is required to protect nearby coastal towns in case of wayward rockets like the Oct. 28 failure of the Orbital Sciences Antares rocket which exploded seconds after blastoff.

Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and planetary science and human spaceflight news.

Ken Kremer

Ken Kremer

Dr. Ken Kremer is a speaker, research scientist, freelance science journalist (KSC area,FL) and photographer whose articles, space exploration images and Mars mosaics have appeared in magazines, books, websites and calendars including Astronomy Picture of the Day, NBC, FOX, BBC,, Spaceflight Now, Science and the covers of Aviation Week & Space Technology, Spaceflight and the Explorers Club magazines. Ken has presented at numerous educational institutions, civic & religious organizations, museums and astronomy clubs. Ken has reported first hand from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, NASA Wallops, NASA Michoud/Stennis/Langley and on over 80 launches including 8 shuttle launches. He lectures on both Human and Robotic spaceflight - Follow Ken on Facebook and Twitter

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