A Chinese booster rocket that helped launch part of a space station into orbit plummeted to Earth over Southeast Asia on Saturday, the US Space Command confirmed.
Authorities believe the 25-ton debris re-entered over the Indian Ocean around 10:45 a.m. MDT.
Witnesses in Malaysia reported seeing bright objects in the sky that looked like meteors, but said they were probably debris.
Aerospace Corporation Experts He closely followed the booster and believes the vast majority of the rocket burned up in the atmosphere, but said it was possible that 20 to 40 percent of the object could have remained intact until it hit the ground.
So far, there have been no reports of damage or injury from any of the island nations surrounding the eastern Indian Ocean.
The sights are similar to China’s rocket booster returns in 2020 and 2021 when debris fell over Africa and the Indian Ocean.
The Long March-5B rocket launched from China on July 24 and delivered a laboratory module for its new Tiangong Space Station, before falling back to Earth.
The United States and other countries have criticized China for its rocket debris return events.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson criticized the People’s Republic of China in a statement about the country’s lack of transparency about the potentially catastrophic event.
“The People’s Republic of China did not share specific trajectory information when its Long March 5B rocket fell to Earth. All spacefaring nations should follow established best practices and do their part to share this type of information in advance to enable reliable predictions of potential debris impact risk, especially for heavy vehicles, such as Long March 5B, that carry 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,” Nelson said.
As of Saturday night, Chinese officials had not publicly commented on the reentry.
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