China's parachute system makes controllable landing of rocket boosters

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A new BeiDou navigation satellite carried by a Long March-3B carrier rocket is launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province, May 17, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

During a recent space launch, China tested a parachute system that can help guide fallen rocket boosters into targeted areas, the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology said on Friday.

The system was used on a Long March-3B rocket carrying a BeiDou navigation satellite into orbit on May 17 from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan Province, according to the academy.

Developed by the academy, the parachute brought down the rocket boosters to a predetermined location, narrowing the range of the landing area by 80 percent.

Designed to give more precise control over where rocket boosters land, the system can automatically open its parafoil at a certain height of descent, guiding the boosters back to an estimated landing area.

Most of China's major launch sites are deep inland, meaning preventing fallen rocket parts from landing unpredictably, especially in areas with human activities, has become an urgent task for scientists.

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