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China Develops New System to Quickly Find Fallen Rocket Debris
SOURCE: Xinhua     UPDATED: 2020-03-26

XICHANG, March 18 (Xinhua) -- China's Xichang Satellite Launch Center Wednesday announced the development of a new positioning system that can greatly shorten the time searching for rocket debris.

The system has proved efficient in seeking out fallen rocket pieces after the center launched the 54th BeiDou satellite into space on March 9. The satellite was sent into space by a Long March-3B carrier rocket. With the guidance of the system, the center staff just spent 25 minutes finding the rocket boosters, while in the past, it would take them several hours or even half a month to complete such a task.

Unlike many countries' launch pads, which are typically located along coastlines, China's major launch sites are deep inland, which means its rockets always fly directly over densely populated areas. Therefore, after launches, rocket boosters and other pieces will fall back to the ground, threatening local communities.

This year the country will continue to see intensive space launches. How to make the rocket debris recovery precise and controllable has become an urgent problem for Chinese scientists.

After the rocket boosters were separated on March 9 in the latest BeiDou satellite launch mission, equipment in the center immediately received the boosters' falling trajectory data. The system then quickly calculated and located the drop point.