Coordinates given by state media, citing the Chinese Bureau of Manned Space Engineering, place the point of impact in the ocean, west of the Maldives archipelago.
Debris from the 5B Long March has made some people look suspiciously skyward shortly after taking off from the Chinese island of Hainan on April 29, but China’s Manned Space Engineering Bureau said most of the debris had been burnt in the atmosphere.
Uncontrollable Chinese rocket rushes towards Earth
Chinese rocket debris likely to land on Sunday
The story continues under the ad
State media reported that parts of the rocket re-entered the atmosphere at 10:24 a.m. Beijing time (2:24 a.m. GMT) and landed at a location whose coordinates are 72.47 degrees east longitude. and 2.65 degrees north latitude.
U.S. Space Command confirmed the rocket reentry over the Arabian Peninsula, but said it was unknown whether the debris touched land or water.
“The exact location of the impact and the extent of the debris, both of which are currently unknown, will not be disclosed by the US Space Command,” he said in a statement posted on its website. .
Chinese rocket debris will cause limited damage, expert predicts
The Long March was the second deployment of the 5B variant since its maiden flight in May 2020. Last year, parts of the first Long March 5B fell on Côte d’Ivoire, damaging several buildings. No injuries were reported.
The husband who pleaded for the return of his missing wife accused of her murder
Ontario government must reopen outdoor spaces ‘immediately’: Canadian Pediatric Society
The story continues under the ad
With most of the Earth’s surface covered in water, the chances of populated areas being affected were low and the likelihood of injury even lower, experts said.
But uncertainty over the rocket’s orbital disintegration and China’s inability to issue stronger assurances as re-entry approaches have fueled anxiety.
During the rocket’s flight, Harvard-based astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell told Reuters the potential area of debris could have been as far north as New York, Madrid or Beijing, and as far south as southern Chile. and Wellington, New Zealand.
Huge Chinese rocket core falling ‘out of control’ to Earth
Since large parts of NASA’s Skylab space station fell from orbit in July 1979 and landed in Australia, most countries have sought to avoid such uncontrolled re-entries through the design of their spacecraft, has McDowell said.
“It makes Chinese rocket designers lazy not to have addressed this problem,” said McDowell, a fellow of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
The Global Times, a Chinese tabloid published by the People’s Daily, dismissed as “Western hype” concerns that the rocket is “out of control” and could cause damage.
“It is common around the world for the upper stages of rockets to burn on entering the atmosphere,” Wang Wenbin, spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, said during a regular press briefing on May 7.
China says its rocket debris falling to Earth is unlikely to cause any damage
“To my knowledge, the top stage of this rocket has been deactivated, which means that most of its parts will burn on re-entry, making the likelihood of damage to aeronautical or ground facilities and activities extremely low. Wang said at the time.
The rocket, which has put into orbit an unmanned Tianhe module containing what will become living quarters for three crew members on a permanent Chinese space station, is expected to be followed by 10 more missions to complete the station by 2022 .
The heavy Long March 5 rockets have been key to China’s short-term space ambitions – from delivering the planned space station modules and crew to launching exploratory probes to the Moon and even Mars.
(Reporting by Ryan Woo, Hallie Gu and Xiao Han in Beijing and Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Simon Cameron-Moore)