A Brief History
On February 15, 1996, the Chinese space program took a tragic turn when a Long March 3B rocket malfunctioned and crashed into a Chinese village, killing between 6 and 100 people on the ground.
The rocket was carrying an Intelsat 708 communications satellite into space, but veered off course shortly after lift off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. While the highly publicized American Space Shuttle disasters come to mind when discussing fatal space incidents, there have been many failures of space launches that have resulted in the expensive loss of equipment and in some cases the loss of life.
Are space programs worth the expense and the danger?
(Note: The local date of the disaster was February 15, but the UTC date was February 14.)
Question for students (and subscribers): Do you support the American decision to make new manned space flights to the Moon? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
harvey, Brian. China’s Space Program – From Conception to Manned Spaceflight. Springer, 2004.
Salla, Michael. Rise of the Red Dragon: Origins & Threat of Chiina’s Secret Space Program. Exopolitics Consultants, 2020.
The featured image in this article, the first Long March 3B, carrying Intelsat 708, going off-course immediately after launch, is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code.
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