China claims that Long March 5B debris landed in the Indian Ocean, most of which was burned into the atmosphere.
Remnants of China’s largest rocket launched last week crashed into the atmosphere on Sunday, landing at 72.47 degrees east and 2.65 degrees north latitude, and were placed near the Maldives in the Indian Ocean.
Chinese state media have reported that 18 tons of remnants of the Long March 5B rocket re-entered Earth’s atmosphere at 10.24 am Beijing time (02:24 GMT).
Most of the debris in the atmosphere was burned.
China’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday that there was no possibility of re-entry and no harm.
China is now reporting https://t.co/dHSJVoItCY The rocket returned to the Maldives at 72.47E 2.65N at 0224 UTC. It would be interesting to see if reports are available from there if correct pic.twitter.com/NQovz33pqg
– Jonathan McDowell (45 Planet 4589) May 9, 2021
U.S. and European officials were closely monitoring the rocket, which was traveling at a speed of about 4.8 miles (13.7 km) per second.
A minute difference in re-entry time translates to a difference of hundreds of miles on land and previous predictions landed in places from the Mediterranean to the Pacific.
Long March 5B – which includes a main stage and four boosters – was launched from Hainan Island, China on April 29 with unmanned Tianhe block, which will become the permanent Chinese space station residence.
The rocket is to be set up with 10 more passengers to complete the station.
Most experts said people are less at risk from rehab.
Florent Telefie, an astronomer at the Paris-PSL laboratory, said: “Depending on the size of the object, large fragments may remain.
“The chances of garbage landing in a populated area are very small, probably one in a million.”
In May 2020, fragments of the first Long March 5B fell on Ivory Coast and damaged several buildings. No injuries were reported.
Debris from Chinese rocket launches is not uncommon in China. In late April, authorities in Xi’an, Hubei Province, sent out notices to people in the surrounding district to prepare for evacuation as parts of the area were expected to land.
The remnants of the rocket are one of the largest space debris to return to Earth.
The main phase of the first Long March 5B, which returned to Earth last year, weighed nearly 20 tons, surpassing only debris from the Columbia spacecraft in 2003, the Soviet Union’s Saliat 7 space station in 1991, and NASA’s Skylob in 1979.