China: Wreckage of the Long March-5B missile lands on the ground and lands in the sea


China said its most powerful rocket has returned to Earth as NASA criticized Beijing for failing to share critical data about its trajectory.

The Long March-5B rocket, weighing more than 1.8 million pounds, blasted off from Wenchang Spaceport on July 24 — carrying another module to China’s first permanent space station, Tiangong, which is under construction.

China’s manned space agency said Sunday in a statement on its official Weibo account on social media that the “vast majority” of the missile’s debris burned while re-entering the atmosphere around 12:55 a.m.

The rest “landed into the sea” at 119.0 degrees east and 9.1 degrees north, it added. These coordinates are located in the waters off the island of Palawan, southeast of the Philippine city of Puerto Princesa. China’s statement did not say whether any debris fell to the ground.

experts They were concerned about the massive size of the 176-foot-long missile and the dangerous design of its launch process It could mean that its debris may not burn up as it re-enters Earth’s atmosphere. The rocket threw its empty 23-ton first stage into orbit, circling the planet for days as it neared landing on an unpredictable flight path.

Debris from a Chinese missile launch into the ground crashed – and no one knows where

The United States has said China takes a high risk of letting the missile fall to the ground unattended without advising on its likely trajectory.

“The People’s Republic of China did not share specific information about the path where the Long March 5B missile fell to the ground,” chirp NASA Administrator Bill Nelson on Saturday.

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“All space-faring nations should follow established best practices, and do their part to share this type of information in advance to allow reliable predictions of potential debris impact risks, particularly for heavy vehicles, such as the Long March 5B, which have a significant risk of loss of life. and property.” “Doing so is critical to the responsible use of space and to ensuring the safety of people here on Earth.

Before the missile’s re-entry, China sought to dispel concerns that the wreckage posed a danger to the public, and predicted that pieces of the core stage would likely end at sea.

US criticism of China when it comes to space debris has been going on for a long time. “It is clear that China is failing to meet responsible standards with regard to space debris,” he said. read statement It was released by NASA earlier this year.

Some experts supported China’s position that the chances of the wreckage causing significant damage were small. The chance of someone dying or being injured from parts of a missile will be 1 in 10 over the next decade, according to Article – Commodity It was published in Nature Astronomy this month. But many think launch designs like the Long March 5B are an unnecessary risk.

Last week, China’s state newspaper, Global Times, accused the West of showing “sour grapes” and trying to discredit its space efforts. Article He accused the United States of leading a “smear campaign” against the “vigorous development of China’s aviation sector”.

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