A Chinese missile disintegrated over the Indian Ocean off the Philippines

A Chinese missile disintegrated over the Indian Ocean off the Philippines

China could be a few miles away from anything more than a diplomatic incident. Its Long March-5B rocket, which launched the second module of the Tiangong space station last Sunday, actually broke up during an uncontrolled return over the Indian Ocean. In a statement published on its official WeChat profile, the Chinese space agency gave the coordinates of the debris impact: in the Sulu Sea, about 57 kilometers off the east coast of Palawan Island in the Philippines.

But more than the effect itself, which had no material consequences, it is the lack of information provided by China that draws criticism. Indeed, the Long March-5B rocket is not designed to control its descent from orbit, which can be dangerous, and it is the American army that had to announce its return to the atmosphere. in a tweet.

Debris in Malaysian airspace

For its part, the Malaysian space agency said it discovered debris from the burning rocket before it fell into the Sulu Sea northeast of the island of Borneo. “The missile debris caught fire as it entered Earth’s airspace, and the movement of the flaming debris also passed through Malaysian airspace and could be detected in several areas, including crossing the airspace around the state of Sarawak,” she said.

China “has not given precise information on the trajectory of its Long March-5B rocket,” NASA chief Bill Nelson also tweeted on Saturday. “All nations conducting space activities should adhere to best practices,” since the fall of objects of this size “poses significant risks of human or material loss,” he added, stressing that the sharing of information is “essential” for a “Responsible use” is space and to ensure the safety of people here on Earth”. In 2020, debris from another Long March crashed into villages in Côte d’Ivoire, causing damage but no injuries.