Explained: Chinese UFO Crashes in Fiery Crater - Space Junk, Part of Rocket Motor

Mick West

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Chinese Rocket Debris metabunk.jpg

Chinese media reports that on Dec 12th something crashed in Zhangjiabian village, Fugu New District, causing a fire and leaving a large crater. The object also left quite a bit of debris.

While "Alien Spacecraft" is always a popular explanation, the most likely thing is that this is some space junk, most likely the remains of a Chinese rocket. Particularly as the object had some very human looking numbers written on it.


A curious green substance was found at the site, described as "space rock"




However it most closely resembles slag from a solid rocket booster, as seen in this NASA photo:

20161217-105500-7vm25.jpg
Source:
https://orbitaldebris.jsc.nasa.gov/photo-gallery.html

Here's a closeup of the main object found, the circular shape suggesting a rocket:
20161217-110406-2djci.jpg
Source: http://yl.hsw.cn/system/2016/1213/12725.shtml

The two linkages at right angles suggest hydraulic actuator attachment points used to tilt the nozzle for steering. For example (on a liquid rocket, but similar principle):

Source: http://blogs.nasa.gov/J2X/tag/hydraulic-actuators/

Update: It is a nozzle connector ring, almost identical to one on this Chinese rocket motor:
https://www.chinaspaceflight.com/engine/SRB/2m-diameter.html



 
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Whitebeard

Senior Member
The most recent OFFICIAL Chinese rocket launch I can find reference to was the first commercial launch of the Long March 5 rocket on November 3rd.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Long_March_launches
My Chinese is non existent so can't tell when the incident happened. But even if it's not from that launch it could be from launch on a military or other mission that Beijing isn't keen to publicise. Or even a missile test.

Edit -
There was a Long March 11 test flight on November 9th
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_March_11
 
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Trailspotter

Senior Member
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Mick West

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There is a similarly looking part in the Japanese M-V rocket motor case:
Similar, but obviously not the same engine. You can see what I was saying with the steering actuator connection points
20161218-080719-c4ygq.jpg
And it does seem like it has been ripped out of something like the pressure vessel seen on the M-34 (third stage SRM for M-V rocket). So maybe something very similar.
 

Trailspotter

Senior Member
Similar, but obviously not the same engine. You can see what I was saying with the steering actuator connection points
Yes, I have seen that. But what is really similar between the two parts is the same number (60) of bolted joints in the outer rim. There are 32 such joints in the inner rim of the Chinese crash piece, but there seems to be more of them in the Japanese motor.

Also, it seems to me that the sizes of two parts are similar as well. Could it be that the crash part came from a (Chinese?) copycatted version of the Japanese motor?
 
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Mick West

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Similar type of thing on the STAR-48 engine




https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_48
It seems like the Chinese part is thrust vectoring, the Saudi one is not.
 

Mick West

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The Saudi debris was actually for low earth orbit, a Delta 2 third stage PAM-D. If this part is similar then it could have come from any country.
 

Mick West

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And from quite a time range. The Saudi PAM-D had been in orbit for eight years!!
https://orbitaldebris.jsc.nasa.gov/quarterly-news/pdfs/odqnv6i2.pdf
 

Mick West

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A recent Chinese rocket:
20161218-112901-vpam7.jpg

(No steering linkages, but looks like it would have them)



http://english.cri.cn/12394/2016/08/02/2743s936356.htm

The numbering scheme:
20161218-113142-e0j4l.jpg

Kind of resembles the numbers on the item:
20161218-113252-2bi3c.jpg
 

Trailspotter

Senior Member
I found that doing a google search for 固体火箭发动机, the Chinese for "Solid Rocket Motor"
There are four bolted joints in the top linkage instead of five in the bottom one. It is a very similar design, yet not the same. Perhaps, a different stage, or even a different rocket.

It is rather strange that the number is hand-written, not stencilled. Could be a part of a prototype motor, not the serial production.
 

Mick West

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There are four bolted joints in the top linkage instead of five in the bottom one. It is a very similar design, yet not the same. Perhaps, a different stage, or even a different rocket.
What you have there is just some heavy duty turnbuckles used to hold the cone in place for display purposes, not the actual steering linkages. I suspect there's a variety of interchangeable connectors using a varied number of bolts. On the debris there looks like there's one with two bolts in the bottom right.

It could be a knock-off, as you suggested earlier. Certainly very similar. The stories about the Chinese one seem to suggest it's still in testing.
 

Trailspotter

Senior Member
This happened a month earlier:
https://www.rt.com/viral/366563-chinese-space-debris-object/

Source: https://twitter.com/FreeKachin/status/796563466630922240/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

It seems to be a similar design of steering linkages to that in post #11, but there are fewer bolted joints in between them. It appears to be the same CZ-11 rocket.

Edit:
It probably was one of the stages of the solid propellant rocket CZ-11 that carried out a successful satellite launch. There are more pictures here:
http://www.eastpendulum.com/lancement-satellite-xpnav-1-par-cz-11
 
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Mick West

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I was thinking that says FG-98, but it could quite easily be FG-28, which is the designation of an actual SRM.
20161219-101630-bijm9.jpg
 

Trailspotter

Senior Member
I was thinking that says FG-98, but it could quite easily be FG-28, which is the designation of an actual SRM.
FG-28 looks rather small to be the source of the Chinese space junk. There is a photo of it along with other Chinese SRMs in the link in #15.

And while the rocket motor may well be Chinese, that does not mean the rocket itself was.
I doubt that the Chinese would export a rocket motor with a handwritten number on it.

As there were no recent launches, it is likely that the piece of space junk was a third stage of the rocket launched quite a while ago and fell down weeks or months (or even years) later. Currently, CZ-11 is the only Chinese solid propellant rocket tested with two successful launches on September 25, 2015 and November 9, 2016. Unfortunately, there are no known images of its third stage, apart of the launch animation for public broadcast.

And I favour the hypothesis of its being a knock-off of the Japanese motor, which case "was made of light and tough carbon fiber". Upon re-entry, such a case probably would burn nearly completely, leaving only the metal fixture for the nozzle, unlike quite a few "survived" motor cases made of metal.
 

Mick West

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Currently, CZ-11 is the only Chinese solid propellant rocket tested with two successful launches on September 25, 2015 and November 9, 2016. Unfortunately, there are no known images of its third stage, apart of the launch animation for public broadcast.
The german site identifies the 2m rocket as being using in the CZ-11
20161219-123520-sv0oy.jpg

And describes the "ZF9" (which I had though was the same rocket) as being 3m diameter,

20161219-123700-ufap9.jpg
which seems roughly accurate based on this guy being around 1.7m high.

20161219-124034-j9fay.jpg
 

Mick West

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Apparently by hand and rather unprofessionally.
Yeah, but there IS writing on it. And it does generally match the Chinese numbering scheme. So are you saying they would only write it on when they use them, but not when they export them? Or something else?
 
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Trailspotter

Senior Member
The german site identifies the 2m rocket as being using in the CZ-11
View attachment 23517
Yes, this look very similar to the (second) stage that fell in Myanmar, aka Burma.

And describes the "ZF9" (which I had though was the same rocket) as being 3m diameter,

View attachment 23518
which seems roughly accurate based on this guy being around 1.7m high.

View attachment 23519
This motor so far was tested on a stand on the ground, but yet to be launched in space.
 

Trailspotter

Senior Member
Yeah, but there IS writing on it. And it does generally match the Chinese numbering scheme. So are you saying they would only write it on when they use them, but not when they export them? Or something else?
No, I mean that if the Chinese did it for export, they probably would engrave the number more professionally (and neatly) with using stencil or similar tool to have regular spaces between the characters and the same font for the same digits.
 

Mick West

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No, I mean that if the Chinese did it for export, they probably would engrave the number more professionally (and neatly) with using stencil or similar tool to have regular spaces between the characters and the same font for the same digits.
I don't think that's necessarily so. Here's a similar bit of text engraved by hand on the 2M motor at the exhibit.
20161219-134403-lzyxa.jpg

Also has the "FG-" prefix, and then maybe "103"?
 

Greylandra

Member
Did anyone actually go to "alien space debris" with this? The markings are exactly what I'd expect on any flange expected to operate under immense pressure. ID#, size, engineered torque setting to be used on the bolts and size of bushing to be used.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Did anyone actually go to "alien space debris" with this? The markings are exactly what I'd expect on any flange expected to operate under immense pressure. ID#, size, engineered torque setting to be used on the bolts and size of bushing to be used.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/peo...-object-falls-sky-leaving-burning-crater.html

http://www.disclose.tv/news/shockin...china_leaving_mysterious_debris_behind/137010
 
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