Debris from China’s Long March-5B missile launched last week fell back into the sea in the Philippines on Sunday, news agencies citing the Chinese government reported. “The vast majority of the wreckage burned as they re-entered the atmosphere,” the AP said.
Several users in Malaysia reported sightings of the missile debris on social media. One of those videos was re-shared by Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Center for Astrophysics, USA.
US Space officials said that while it could confirm the booster had re-entered over the Indian Ocean, it referred to China “for details on technicalities,” including the location of the impact. “The People’s Republic of China did not share specific trajectory information when their Long March 5B rocket fell back to Earth,” NASA administrator Bill Nelson tweeted separately.
“All space countries should follow established best practices and do their part to share this kind of information in advance to enable reliable predictions of the potential risk of debris impact, especially for heavy vehicles, such as the Long March 5B, which carry a large amount of debris. risk of loss of life and property,” he added.
This is the third incident of an uncontrolled entry by a Chinese rocket booster. NASA accused Beijing of “failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris” after parts of a Chinese rocket landed in the Indian Ocean in May 2021. Before that, an 18-ton rocket crashed uncontrollably in May 2020.
In 2016, Tiangong-1, China’s first space station, crashed into the Pacific Ocean after Beijing confirmed it was losing control. China has dismissed Western concerns over debris, calling it a defamation attempt as the US-China space race escalates.
(With inputs from AP)