Part of a Chinese Long March-5B rocket fell back into the Indian Ocean, the US military said.
Part of a Chinese space rocket launched last Sunday reentered the atmosphere uncontrollably on Saturday and disintegrated in the Indian Ocean, the US military said, without specifying whether the debris caused any damage.
“Space Command confirms that a People’s Republic of China’s Long March-5B rocket re-entered the atmosphere over the Indian Ocean on July 30,” the US military tweeted at 4:45pm GMT. For details on debris dispersion and the exact location of impact, the US military cited Chinese officials as the second of three modules of its Tiangong space station launched on July 24, which should be fully operational. At the end of the year.
The Long March-5B rocket was not designed to control its descent from orbit, drawing criticism like previous launches. NASA President Bill Nelson tweeted Saturday that China “did not provide accurate information on the trajectory of the Long March-5B rocket.” He added that “all countries conducting space activities must adhere to best practices” because objects of this size “present significant risks of loss of life or property.”
Entry into the atmosphere produces immense heat and friction, parts may then burn up and disintegrate, but large craft such as the Long March-5B may not be completely destroyed.
Their debris can land on the Earth’s surface and cause damage and casualties, although this risk is low given that the planet is 70% covered in water. In 2020, debris from another Long March crashed into villages in Côte d’Ivoire, causing damage but no injuries.
The Asian giant has been investing billions of euros in its space program for decades. China sent its first astronaut into space in 2003. In early 2019, it landed a spacecraft on the far side of the Moon, a world first. In 2021, he landed a small robot on Mars and plans to send humans to the moon by 2030.