Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, China Note, which includes a look at the week’s top stories and best reads from and about China. Subscribe to receive it by email every Wednesday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your email inbox.
Two weeks ago, more than 12 million Chinese viewers tuned in to watch a live broadcast of the core module of China’s first crewed space station being launched into orbit. Not far from the launch site, a symphony orchestra performed as the Long March 5B rocket carrying the module took off, in celebration of a historic achievement that marks a key step forward in China’s growing space ambitions.
But last weekend, all eyes were in the sky for a very different reason: The core stage of the rocket was hurtling back to earth in freefall.
Experts and space agencies, including the U.S. Space Command and the…