Chinese missile: Rocket debris re-entered atmosphere over Indian Ocean, says US Space Command

China’s 23-tonne Long March 5B rocket, which carried a new module to its space station, took off from Hainan Island at 2:22 p.m. local time on Sunday, July 24, and the module successfully docked at the Chinese orbital position. Since then, the rocket has been on an uncontrolled slope toward Earth’s atmosphere – marking the third time the rocket has descended into China. been accused Failure to properly handle space debris from the rocket stage.

“No other country is leaving these 20-ton objects in orbit to re-enter in an out-of-control fashion,” Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, told CNN reporter Jim Acosta on Saturday afternoon.

In a statement Saturday on Twitter, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson Wrote China did not share “specific trajectory information” as the missile fell to the ground.

“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 Long March 5B, which have a high risk of losses,” Nelson said. in life and property.

“Doing so is critical to the responsible use of space and to ensuring the safety of people here on Earth,” he added.

In a statement, China’s manned space agency said the remnants of the rocket re-entered the atmosphere at around 12:55 a.m. on Sunday Beijing time — or around 12:55 p.m. ET on Saturday.

Most of the waste was burned during the re-entry process over the Sulu Sea, which lies between Borneo island and the Philippines, the agency added.

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“What we really want to know is which piece ended up on the floor,” McDowell told CNN. “It may take a little longer for the reports to be filtered again.”

The video posted online appears to show what experts believe are images of the missile booster burning in the atmosphere, but CNN cannot confirm its authenticity.

Vanessa Yulan, a resident of Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, shared a video with CNN showing what appears to be missile debris burning.

She told CNN that she filmed the footage at around 12:50 a.m. local time, the same as Beijing time.

CNN’s Yong Xiong contributed to this report.

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