A Chinese rocket disintegrated over the Indian Ocean

A segment of the Chinese space rocket launched last Sunday made its uncontrolled return to the atmosphere on Saturday and disintegrated over the Indian Ocean. The impact took place about 57 km off the island of Palawan in the Philippines.

‘Most of its devices were destroyed’ during the descent, the Chinese space agency said of the booster rocket, which was used last Sunday to launch the second of three modules China needed to complete its new Tiangong space station. The latter should be fully operational by the end of the year.

The return to the atmosphere of the Chinese rocket had been announced several hours earlier by the American army. The Malaysian space agency for its part said it detected debris from the rocket burning before falling into the Sulu Sea, northeast of the island of Borneo.

‘The debris from the rocket caught fire upon entering Earth’s airspace and the movement of the burning debris also passed through Malaysian airspace and could be detected in several areas including traversing the airspace around the state of Sarawak’, she detailed.


The Long March-5B rocket was not designed to control its descent from orbit, which, as with previous launches, has drawn criticism. China “has not given precise information on the trajectory of its Long March-5B rocket”, NASA boss Bill Nelson tweeted on Saturday.

“All nations conducting space activities should adhere to best practices,” because falling objects of this size “present significant risks of causing loss of life or property,” he added.

Entering the atmosphere gives off immense heat and friction, segments may then burn up and disintegrate, but larger craft, such as the Long March-5B, may not be entirely destroyed.

Their debris can then land on the surface of the Earth and cause damage and cause victims, even if this risk is low, the planet being covered with 70% of water. In 2020, debris from another Long March crashed into villages in Côte d’Ivoire, causing damage but no injuries.

The Asian giant has been investing billions of euros for several decades in its space program. The Tiangong space station is one of the jewels of this program.


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