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Debris from a Chinese rocket gets out of control and falls back to Earth

Debris from a colossal Chinese rocket spiraled uncontrollably back into the atmosphere over the Indian Ocean on Saturday.

US Space Command announced that the rocket, China’s Long March 5B, re-entered over the ocean around 12:45 p.m. EDT.

The 23-tonne rocket had launched from the Chinese island of Hainan on July 24 to carry a new module to China’s Tiangong space station, a station that is still under construction. reported.

The module arrived at the space station while the booster rocket made an uncontrolled re-entry, the third time a Chinese rocket stage has descended uncontrollably to Earth. CBS noticed news.

The Aerospace Corporation’s Center for Orbital Debris and Reentry Studies expected 5 to 9 metric tons of the rocket stage”survive re-entry and reach the surface of the earth.”

China Manned Space Agency claimed in a Weibo social media post that most of the rocket was destroyed on its journey to Earth.

Social media users captured the rocket apparently descending in the night sky over Kuching, the capital of Malaysia’s Sarawak state.

The video appears to show the debris flickering and burning as it moves towards the ground.

Astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell, who works at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, wrote on Twitter that the video implies the debris was high in the atmosphere and “any debris” would land “near Sibu, Bintulu or even Brunei.” .

He also wrote that it wasunlikely but not impossible” that some debris could impact a population center.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson in a tweet on Saturdayhe wrote that China “did not share” information about where the debris fell on Earth.

“All spacefaring nations should follow established best practices and do their part to share this type of information in advance to enable…reliable predictions of potential debris impact risk, especially for heavy vehicles, such as the Long March.” 5B, which carry a significant risk of loss of life and property,” Nelson wrote.

“Doing so is critical to the responsible use of space and to ensuring the safety of people here on Earth,” he continued.

NASA has previously criticized China for the uncontrolled falls to Earth of the remains of the Long March 5B rocket.

Nelson said China was “not meeting responsible standards” after a part of its rocket re-entered the atmosphere over the Maldives before mostly burning up in May 2021.


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