Upcoming Long March 4C Mission will Dump Debris on Laos and Cambodia

Debris from an upcoming Long March 4C launch is expected to drop debris over a region between Laos and Cambodia.
A Long March 4C carrying the Yaogan-27 remote sensing satellite lifts off from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center on August 27, 2015 | Image credit: Xinhua/Yan Yan

An upcoming Long March 4C launch from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in China is expected to dump debris on an area on the border of Laos and Cambodia.

The Long March 4C is set to be launched on October 3 at 18:44 UTC. Although still unconfirmed, it will likely be carrying a Fengyun weather satellite to a geosynchronous orbit. The launch is part of a nine-satellite update to the Fengyun constellation announced by the director of the China Meteorological Administration, Liu Yaming in November 2018.

In preparation for the launch, a series of flight safety notices were published by Chinese officials. One such notice identified a region on the border between Cambodia and Laos. As the region is over 2,600 kilometers south of the launch pad in China’s Shanxi province, it’s likely a warning for debris coming down and not a rocket going up.

Locations identified for Long March 4C mission safety notices.
Locations identified in flight safety notices | Image credit: LaunchStuff/Google Maps

This is not the first time a launch from Chinese shores has dumped debris on neighboring countries. In October 2018, a Long March 4B carrying the HaiYang-2B Earth observation satellite dropped debris on a village near the Cambodia/Thailand border. Eight months later, a Long March 4C carrying the YaogGan-33 military reconnaissance satellite dropped debris on Laos and Cambodia.

Neither of the previous instances of debris falling on these areas has resulted in any reported fatalities or injuries. This is likely largely due to the fact these regions are sparsely populated at best.


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Andrew Parsonson is a space enthusiast and the founder of Rocket Rundown. He has worked as a journalist and blogger for various industries for over 5 years and has a passion for both fictional and real-life space travel. Currently, Andrew is the primary writer for Rocket Rundown as we look to expand our reach and credibility.