After a missile crashes into the Indian Ocean, NASA pulls China up

    Long March 5B

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, slammed China after fragments of its largest rocket, the Long March 5B, re-entered the atmosphere and disintegrated near the Maldives in the Indian Ocean on Sunday. According to the BBC, the debris is the main booster stage of the rocket that launched the first module of China’s new space station Tiangong-3 on April 29.

    NASA Administrator and US Senator Bill Nelson said in a statement that China is clearly struggling to follow responsible expectations when it comes to space debris. To ensure the protection, peace, security, and long-term viability of outer space operations, China and all spacefaring nations and commercial entities must act responsibly and transparently in space.

    At 10:24 a.m., parts of the rocket re-entered the atmosphere Beijing time (7.29 a.m. IST) on Sunday morning, Reuters reported, and landed at a position with the coordinates of longitude 72.47 degrees east and latitude 2.65 degrees north. According to the China Manned Space Engineering Office, the bulk of the debris was burned up in the atmosphere.

    The “rocket was down,” according to Space-Track, a space tracking agency that uses US military data.

    The re-entry of the rocket over the Arabian Peninsula was also verified by the US Space Command, but it was unclear if the debris impacted land or water. According to a statement on its website, US Space Command will not release the exact location of the impact or the length of debris, all of which are unknown at this time.

    There had been a lot of talk about where the Chinese rocket’s debris would land. Experts estimated, however, that it will most likely crash in the oceans, considering that water covers 70% of the Earth’s surface.

    Since its maiden flight in May 2020, the 5B version has made two deployments. Last year, sections of the first Long March 5B fell on the Ivory Coast, causing damage to many homes. There were no injuries recorded. On April 29, this rocket was launched from China’s Hainan island.