May 10, 2021: Reports are coming in that parts of the rogue Chinese rocket that was out of control and destined to crash on Earth has re-entered close to the Maldives in the Indian Ocean. The out-of-control China rocket debris falls near Maldives, much to the relief of the people.
China rocket debris falls near Maldives with likely ocean reentry
Debris from the core stage of China’s Long March 5B rocket booster disintegrated over the Indian Ocean at 2.14 UTC on Sunday, May 9. The US Space Force’s 18th Space Control Squadron confirmed that parts of the rocket fell into the ocean north of the Maldives.
“An ocean reentry was always statistically the most likely,” tweeted Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard and orbital expert. “It appears China won its gamble (unless we get news of debris in the Maldives). But it was still reckless.”
China rocket debris falls near Maldives after CNSA loses control of the rocket
The China National Space Administration (CNSA) had lost control of the 21-metric-ton rocket booster after it failed to make a deorbit burn that would have allowed for a more controlled and predictable re-entry.
The uncontrolled re-entry of the Long March 5B rocket today is rated as the equal fourth-largest in history. The biggest was on July 11, 1979, when the 75-tonnes Skylab Space Station hit Australia.
This is the second time in a year that China has lost control of its Long March 5B rocket. On May 12, 2020, a similar event saw rocket debris discovered in the village of N’Guessankro near Bouake in Ivory Coast. Sunday’s debris strike prompted a statement from NASA about the incident.
Spacefaring nations need to be more responsible
Bill Nelson released the following statement Saturday regarding
“Spacefaring nations must minimize the risks to people and property on Earth of re-entries of space objects and maximize transparency regarding those operations,” said Sen. Bill Nelson, who was sworn-in as the new NASA Administrator, last week. “It is clear that China is failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris,” he continued. “It is critical that China and all spacefaring nations and commercial entities act responsibly and transparently in space to ensure the safety, stability, security, and long-term sustainability of outer space activities.