Reusable rockets that don't shed pieces at launch can't come soon enough for residents near China's inland rocket sites, particularly the folks who had a rocket crash through the roof of their house last week.
SinoDefence, a British site covering China's space agency, tweeted photos last week from northwest China's Shaanxi province, where it appears that part of the first-stage engine of a Cz-4C rocket put quite a dent in someone's bedroom.
SinoDefence reported that the rocket launched a Yaogan 27 reconnaissance satellite into orbit on Thursday and that photos and reports of where parts of the rocket landed began to circulate on Friday.
China News Service reported that the rocket engine fell through the roof around 10:40 p.m. Thursday local time in the town of Ankang, shaking nearby houses and windows as well. So far no casualties have been reported.
The craziest part of this story is that this is not the only recent incident involving Chinese rockets crashing back to earth. Back in January, a Chinese rocket booster tumbled into a nearby forested area after liftoff, coming to rest across a local road, blocking it off.
Unlike in the US, where launch facilities are located on the coastline, China's launch facilities are inland, although a new facility is under construction on Hainan Island and the country is working on its own recyclable rockets to address the problem. Until then, it might be a good idea for Chinese residents near launch zones to volunteer to test this recently patenteddesign.