Debris from a Chinese space rocket landed on earth over the weekend. A portion of the space object fell in the Indian Ocean close to the Maldives without causing any casualties.
Over the weekend, a large portion of a Chinese space rocket crashed into the earth. According to The New York Times, the debris from the rocket landed in the Indian Ocean near the Maldives on Sunday morning.
The crash was announced by China's Space Administration, who confirmed that a considerable part of the debris was burned up upon its re-entry to the earth. The exact point of impact was established to be west of the Maldives archipelago.
A Long March-5B Y2 rocket carrying the core module of China's space station, Tianhe, blasted off from the Wenchang Spacecraft on April 29, 2021 | Photo: Getty Images
According to reports, the rocket ― the Chinese Long March 5B ― was launched on April 29, carrying the main module of the Tianhe space station into orbit. Usually, rockets flown into space immediately drop back to earth.
They are typically destroyed in a controlled process after being guided back to the earth's atmosphere. However, the Long March 5B didn't follow this process. Instead, it followed the space station to orbit.
Due to the friction of the rocket rubbing against the air, it began losing altitude and made an uncontrollable entry back to the earth. After China's announcement, the head of NASA released a statement rebuking the administration. It read:
"It is clear that China is failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris. It is critical that China and all spacefaring nations and commercial entities act responsibly."
The re-entry of the rocket caught the observers' attention after it was difficult to locate where it would land after knowledge of its circulation in the earth's atmosphere came to light. The rocket's trajectory was tracked for days.
This is reportedly not the first time a Chinese space rocket has made an uncontrollable re-entry into the earth's atmosphere.
According to officials, the possibility of the debris causing a catastrophe or landing in a populated area was negligible. The United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin predicted that the rocket would fall in the ocean.
At the time, Austin noted that the United States had no plan of shooting down the object. However, he criticized the Chinese government for not taking the necessary precautions while telling citizens that no precautions would be taken.
This is reportedly not the first time a Chinese space rocket has made an uncontrollable re-entry into the earth's atmosphere. In 2020, the debris of another Long March crashed into a rural region of the Ivory Coast.