China’s most recent space launch almost ended in tragedy

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China’s most recent space launch almost ended very, very badly, as a rocket booster tumbled back down to Earth near a school.
A huge plume of toxic gas was produced by the booster, but no reports of injuries or damage have been made public.
China’s space ambitions are ramping up as the country plays catch-up to other nations.
China has big ambitions when it comes to space exploration. After decades of trailing behind the likes of the US and Russia, the country is playing a bit of catchup as it rapidly develops new rocket technology and plans and executes missions to the Moon and Mars. A rocket launch on Monday sent yet another Chinese satellite into space. The delivery of the satellite went well, but the rocket booster came down in the worst possible spot.

As Ars Technica reports, the Long March 4B rocket booster came tumbling back down to Earth and smashed into the ground near a school. That’s bad enough already, but what followed was even worse: The booster produced a plume of toxic gas after it impacted the Earth.

In a video posted on social media, the plume that the booster created appears to …

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