Debris from China’s Long March 5 rocket, which launched last week, returned to Philippine waters on Sunday, the news agency reported, citing the Chinese government. “Most of the debris burned up on re-entry into the atmosphere,” an official was quoted as saying by the AP.
Several users in Malaysia reported sightings of missile fragments on social media. One such video was once again shared by Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the National Astronomy Center. A U.S. space official was able to confirm that the booster had re-entered over the Indian Ocean, but said he referred to China for “technical details,” including the crash site.
“The People’s Republic of China did not share specific trajectory information when the Long March 5 rocket fell to Earth,” NASA administrator Bill Nelson tweeted. All spaceflight nations should follow established best practices and share this kind of information in advance to reduce the potential risk of debris impacts, especially for large vehicles with a high volume of risk such as the Long March 5B. It should be predictable with certainty. loss of life and property,” he added.
This is the third such incident of an uncontrolled invasion by Chinese rockets. NASA has accused Beijing of “failing to meet responsible standards for space debris” after part of a Chinese rocket landed in the Indian Ocean in May 2021. Previously, in May 2020, an 18-ton rocket crashed out of control. In 2016, China’s first space station, Tiangong 1, crashed into the Pacific Ocean after Beijing confirmed it had lost control. China has dismissed Western concerns about debris, calling it a smear attempt amid an intensifying US-China space race.