Latest news on Chinese rocket crashed to Earth: debris entered the atmosphere
Debris from China’s largest rocket re-entered the atmosphere over the Indian Ocean just before 9 p.m. Saturday.
The rocket, launched last week, was one of the largest objects to land on Earth on an uncontrollable trajectory, the Washington Post reported. As rocket remnants plunged into the sky near the Maldives, most of the debris burnt at the start of the school year, according to Chinese authorities.
China has said the top stage of its Long March 5B rocket that launched its space station’s base module will mostly burn on re-entry, posing little threat to people and property on the ground. That didn’t stop the interest in the back-to-school follow-up, which was slated for Saturday evening EST or Sunday morning.
The approximately 100-foot-long remainder, a section that launched the main module of China’s first space station, is said to be one of the largest space junk to fall on Earth. It weighed 21 tons.
The 18-ton rocket that fell last May was the largest piece of debris to fall uncontrollably from the former Soviet space station Salyut 7 in 1991.
The Chinese space agency has yet to say whether the main stage of the massive Long March 5B rocket is under control or will descend uncontrollably. Last May, another Chinese rocket fell uncontrollably in the Atlantic Ocean off West Africa.
NASA Administrator Senator Bill Nelson was disturbed by another uncontrolled descent.
“Space nations must minimize the risks to people and property on Earth from reentering space objects and maximize transparency regarding these operations.” Nelson said in a statement. “It is clear that China is failing to meet responsible standards regarding its space debris.”
Here are some current predictions from space and sky observers:
Space-Track also estimated the Mediterranean basin in a tweet on Saturday afternoon.
Al Jazeera noted that a difference of just one minute in re-entry time translates into hundreds of kilometers of difference on the ground.
The place where he will strike “can only be located a few hours after re-entry,” the Pentagon said in a statement Tuesday.
The Long March 5B rocket launched Tianhe’s Main Module, or Heavenly Harmony, into orbit on April 29. China is planning 10 more launches to put additional parts of the space station into orbit.