(CTN News) – On Saturday, a Chinese rocket fell back to Earth over the Indian Ocean, but NASA said Beijing hadn’t shared “specific trajectory information.”
U.S. Space Command said the Long March 5B rocket re-entered over the Indian Ocean at 12:45 pm EDT Saturday (1645 GMT), but referred questions about “reentry’s technical aspects” to China.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said all spacefaring nations should follow established best practices and share information about potential debris impacts in advance. Using space responsibly and ensuring people’s safety on Earth depends on doing so.”
There was a video posted on social media in Malaysia of what appeared to be rocket debris.
In an uncontrolled reentry, the Chinese rocket’s entire main-core stage – which weighs 22.5 tons (about 48,500 pounds) – crashed to Earth, according to Aerospace Corp.
Analysts earlier this week predicted that the Chinese rocket body would disintegrate as it plunged through the atmosphere, but that many chunks would survive and rain debris over an area 1,240 miles long by 70 miles wide.
The Chinese Embassy in Washington declined to comment. The Chinese government earlier this week said it would closely monitor the debris, but said it posed little risk to anyone on the ground.
Chinese rocket Long March 5B launched July 24 to deliver a laboratory module to the new Chinese space station in orbit, marking its third flight since 2020.
The Ivory Coast was damaged by fragments of another Chinese Long March 5B in 2020, but no injuries were reported.
The United States, he said, generally designs its Chinese rockets to avoid large, uncontrolled re-entries – an imperative largely observed since large chunks of NASA’s Skylab space station fell from orbit in 1979.
In May 2021, NASA and others accused China of being opaque after it kept silent about the estimated debris trajectory and the reentry window.
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