Large Chinese Rocket Segment Disintegrates Over Indian Ocean
Umer Jamshaid 1 month ago Sun 09th May 2021 | 06:00 PM
Beijing, May 9 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 9th May, 2021 ) :A large segment of a Chinese rocket re-entered the Earth's atmosphere and disintegrated over the Indian Ocean on Sunday, China's space agency said, following fevered speculation over where the 18-tonne object would come down.
Officials in Beijing had said there was little risk from the freefalling segment of the Long March-5B rocket, which had launched the first module of China's new space station into Earth orbit on April 29.
But the US space agency NASA and some experts said China had behaved irresponsibly, as an uncontrolled re-entry of such a large object risked damage and casualties.
"After monitoring and analysis, at 10:24 (0224 GMT) on May 9, 2021, the last-stage wreckage of the Long March 5B Yao-2 launch vehicle has re-entered the atmosphere," the China Manned Space Engineering Office said in a statement, providing coordinates for a point in the Indian Ocean near the Maldives.
It added that most of the segment disintegrated and was destroyed during descent.
The segment's descent matched expert predictions that any debris would have splashed down into the ocean, given that 70 percent of the planet is covered by water.
Because it was an uncontrolled descent, there was widespread public interest and speculation about where the debris would land.
American and European space authorities were among those tracking the rocket and trying to predict its re-entry.
- Accusations of negligence - Objects generate immense amounts of heat and friction when they enter the atmosphere, which can cause them to burn up and disintegrate. But larger ones such as the Long March-5B may not be destroyed entirely.
Their wreckage can land on the surface of the planet and may cause damage and casualties, though that risk is low.
The uncertainty and risks of such a re-entry sparked accusations that Beijing had behaved irresponsibly.
"Spacefaring nations must minimize the risks to people and property on Earth of re-entries of space objects and maximize transparency regarding those operations," Nelson said in a statement.
"It is seriously anti-intellectual to claim that China's rocket debris is especially risky," read the article.
"Washington will keep nitpicking and discrediting Beijing over the construction of (the) space station." - China's space ambitions - To avoid such scenarios, some experts have recommended a redesign of the Long March-5B rocket -- which is not equipped for a controlled descent.
"An ocean reentry was always statistically the most likely," McDowell tweeted.
"The probability of causing harm to aviation activities or (on people and activities) on the ground is extremely low," foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Friday.