US Space Command confirms Debris of uncontrolled Chinese rocket reenters over Indian Ocean

31 July, 2022 | Pravina Srivastava

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The US Space Command said on Saturday that debris from a big Chinese rocket re-entered Earth's atmosphere over Indian Ocean around 12:45 p.m. eastern time.

The US Space Command said on Saturday that debris from a big Chinese rocket re-entered Earth’s atmosphere over Indian Ocean around 12:45 p.m. eastern time.

Tweet read “USSPACECOM can confirm that on July 30 at around 10:45 am MDT, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) Long March 5B (CZ-5B) re-entered over the Indian Ocean. For further information on the technical features of the reentry, such as a probable debris dispersal+ impact site, we advise you to the PRC.”

According to China Manned Space Agency (CMSA), China launched the 23-ton Long March-5B Y3 carrier rocket carrying Wentian on July 24 at 2:22 pm (Beijing Time) from Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on the coast of the southern island province of Hainan.

CMSA verified that Wentian successfully entered the intended orbit after disengaging from rocket.

Since then, rocket has been descending uncontrollably toward Earth’s atmosphere. This is the third time China has been charged with improperly managing space debris from their rocket stage.

Since then, space watchers have been monitoring the rocket’s trajectory as it passed each stage in Earth’s orbit due to the remote potential that it would touch down over a populated region.

According to Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysics researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, “No other country leaves these 20-ton items in orbit to return in an uncontrolled fashion.”

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said on Twitter shortly after US Command confirmed the reentry that China “did not give exact trajectory information when their Long March 5B rocket fell down to Earth.”

All spacefaring countries, according to him, should adhere to accepted best practises and should “share this type of information in advance to allow reliable predictions of potential debris impact risk, especially for heavy-lift vehicles, like the Long March 5B, which carry a significant risk of loss of life and property,” he said.

The proper use of space and the protection of humanity on Earth both depend on it, Nelson continued.

According to a statement from China Manned Space Agency, remains of the rocket reentered the atmosphere at around 12:55 a.m. Sunday Beijing time, or 12:55 p.m. (eastern time) Saturday.

However, Sulu Sea, a body of water between islands of Borneo and Philippines, was where the majority of fragments burnt up during reentry phase, agency noted.

Social media users in the Malaysian state of Sarawak on the island of Borneo reported seeing the rocket debris, with many initially mistaking it for a meteor shower or a comet.

According to reports, a video that has been shared online claims to show views of the rocket booster exploding in the sky over Malaysia.

Notably, this was the Long March 5B’s third launch and the nation’s 24th mission since its human space programme was sanctioned and launched.

Tiangong space station being built by China is anticipated to be finished this year. According to the local media, it will eventually transform from a single-module structure into a national space laboratory with three modules: the central module, Tianhe, and two lab modules, Wentian and Mengtian.

Mengtian module is scheduled to launch in October of this year after the Tianhe module did so in April of 2021.