Chinese missile crashes over Indian Ocean, US demands information

Chinese missile crashes over Indian Ocean, US demands information

In a statement, China’s space agency said the missile’s impact occurred off the east coast of Palawan Island in the Philippines.

In a statement, China’s space agency said the missile’s impact occurred off the east coast of Palawan Island in the Philippines.

Published on 07/31/2022 08:58

BEIJING A segment of China’s space rocket launched last Sunday returned uncontrollably to Earth’s atmosphere on Saturday and disintegrated over the Indian Ocean, China’s space agency confirmed, with US officials accusing Beijing of not sharing its information about its origins.

In a statement published on its official WeChat profile, the Chinese space agency revealed the coordinates of the impact: in the Sulu Sea, about 57 kilometers off the east coast of Palawan Island in the Philippines.

“Most of its equipment was destroyed during the descent,” the agency said of the rocket, which was used last Sunday to launch the second of three modules China needs to complete its new Tiangong space station, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year .

The return of the Chinese missile to the atmosphere had been announced by the US Army several hours earlier. “Space Force Command confirms that the People’s Republic of China’s Long March5B rocket reentered the atmosphere over the Indian Ocean at 16:45 GMT (13:45 GMT) on July 30,” the US military tweeted .

For its part, the Malaysian space agency said it discovered debris from the flaming rocket before it crashed into the Sulu Sea northeast of the island of Borneo.

“Missile debris caught fire as it entered terrestrial airspace, and flaming debris also passed through Malaysian airspace and could be detected in several areas, including crossing the airspace around Sarawak state,” he said.

The Long March5B rocket was not designed to control its descent from orbit, which, like previous launches, has drawn criticism. China “did not provide accurate information on the trajectory of its Long March5B rocket,” Nasa chief Bill Nelson tweeted on Saturday.

“All nations conducting space activities must adhere to best practices” because falling objects of this size “pose a significant risk of causing human and material losses,” he added, stressing that information sharing is “essential” for a ” responsible use” is space and to ensure the safety of people on earth”.

Upon entering the atmosphere, immense heat and friction is released, causing the segments to burn and disintegrate. However, larger ships like the Long March5B may not be completely destroyed. Their debris can then land on the Earth’s surface, causing damage and casualties, although this risk is small since the planet is 70% covered with water.

In 2020, debris from another Long March missile fell on villages in Ivory Coast, causing damage but no injuries. The Asian giant has invested billions of dollars in its space program for several decades.

The Tiangong space station is one of the gems of this program. China sent its first astronaut into space in 2003. At the beginning of 2019, a device landed on the other side of the moon as a world first. In 2021 it landed a small robot on Mars and plans to send humans to the moon by 2030.