Dramatic footage shows fiery plumes of smoke filling the air as baffled locals stare at the huge smoking wreckage that dropped in the Taizi Temple village in China
A huge satellite has plummeted from space and crashed in China, causing a huge fireball to erupt after it crash-landed in the north of the country.
A resident of Taizi Temple village reported that the wreck fell at around 6:50 am Wednesday behind their home and the remnants have not been cleared yet.
Villagers were warned that debris might fall but the huge noise of the crash still shocked them.
No casualties were reported and an official in Taizi Temple village said that the satellite remnants did not cause any damage. It’s understood the debris is likely to be recovered and processed by the launch base. Officials said the site has been secured, and specialized personnel are dealing with the situation.
It comes after a huge satellite crashed back to Earth in July after scientists controlled its re-entry. The British-built spacecraft called Aeolus had an unprecedented return after completing a transformative space mission. It was not destined for re-entry but was running out of fuel and time.
The plan was for the satellite to reach 93 miles above Earth before the controlled entry would begin and it was hoped the satellite would enter somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean and then burn up while re-entering Earth’s atmosphere. Following a huge round of applause in the ESA’s briefing room, the agency confirmed that Aeolus landed almost exactly where they expected it to.
Aeolus had been in orbit since 2018 and was the first spacecraft to measure our planet’s winds from space. Since it ran out of fuel earlier in the month, the spacecraft had been falling toward Earth with gathering speed. “This is quite unique, what we’re doing. You don’t find really examples of this in the history of spaceflight. To our knowledge, this is the first time we have done an assisted re-entry like this,” head of ESA’s Space Debris Office Holger Krag said during a press briefing.
Simonetta Cheli, the ESA’s director of Earth observation, said the satellite was a “real success story”, having lasted beyond its estimated deployment of three years. The team hope the mission will act as a turning point for how to manage spacecraft at the end of their life as around 2,000 of the approximately 10,000 craft in space are defunct.
Holger Krag, head of the ESA’s space safety office said: “Space sustainability must be a global effort, and we must significantly improve the way we design and operate missions today.” The ESA wants all of its launches to be “debris neutral” by 2030, meaning anything deployed in space has to be returned once the mission concludes.