Chinese rocket fails after launch; debris fallout seen over Marianas, again

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The Space Flight Now website is reporting that a Long March 3B rocket malfunctioned during the launch of an Indonesian communications satellite Thursday, leading to sightings of fiery debris in the skies over Guam.

According to Space Flight Now, Xinhua, China’s state-run news agency, said the Long March 3B launcher failed after lifting off from the Xichang space center in the country’s southwestern Sichuan province at 1146 GMT (7:46 a.m. EDT).

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In December, a similar Chinese rocket launch showered debris into the waters near Saipan.

At that time the administrator of the Guam Offices of Homeland Security and Civil Defense, Charles Esteves, said the rocket debris posed no threat to Guam.

Last night Guam’s Civil Defense office released a statement saying once again that falling space debris over our region poses no threat to the Marianas.

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READ the release from Guam Civil Defense in FULL below:

Unidentified Object Likely Connected to Scheduled Test Launch from China; No Threat to the Marianas

The Offices of Guam Homeland Security and Civil Defense (GHS/OCD) and the Mariana Regional Fusion Center (MRFC) continue to monitor events in the region, including widely circulated videos of a fiery object over the Marianas sky this evening. In concert with federal partners, GHS/OCD and MRFC identified that the object was likely connected to a scheduled satellite test launch from China.

Open sources report that a Chinese Long March 3B rocket was scheduled to launch the Palapa N1 communications satellite, also known as Nusantara Satu 2, from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in China on April 9 at 7:40 a.m. EDT.

This scheduled commercial space launch occurred around 9:40 p.m. ChST and corresponds with the timing of the widely circulated videos of the fiery object in the sky.

There was no direct threat assessed to the Marianas from the launch.

For more information, contact GHS/OCD Public Information Officer, Jenna G. Blas at (671) 489-2540 or via email at jenna.g.blas@ghs.guam.gov.