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Suspected Chinese rocket debris seen falling over village after launch, video shows

Hong Kong CNN —

Suspected debris from a Chinese rocket was seen plummeting to the ground over a village in southwest China on Saturday, leaving a trail of bright yellow smoke and sending villagers running, according to videos on Chinese social media and sent to CNN by a local witness.

The dramatic footage surfaced online shortly after a Long March 2C carrier rocket blasted off at 3p.m. local time Saturday (3 a.m. Eastern Time) from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the southwestern province of Sichuan.

The rocket sent into orbit the Space Variable Objects Monitor, a powerful satellite developed by China and France to study the farthest explosion of stars known as gamma-ray bursts.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping has vowed to establish the country as a dominant space power, ramping up missions to compete with other major world powers, including the United States.

Saturday’s launch was declared a “complete success” by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), a state-owned contractor that developed the Long March 2C rocket.

CNN has reached out to the CASC and the State Council Information Office, which handles press inquiries for the Chinese government, including its space agency, for comment.

Video posted on social media shows suspected Chinese rocket debris falling over Xianqiao village in Guizhou Province, China, following a launch on June 22, 2024.

A video posted on Kuaishou, a Chinese short-video site, appeared to show a long, cylindrical shaped piece of debris falling over a rural village and crashed next to a hill, with yellow smoke billowing from one end.

CNN geolocated the video to be filmed from Xianqiao village in Guizhou province, neighboring the launch site province of Sichuan to the