A Chinese rocket booster that was helping to put part of a space station into orbit crashed to Earth over Southeast Asia on Saturday, the US Space Command confirmed.
Officials believe the 25-ton debris re-entered via the Indian Ocean around 10:45 a.m. MDT.
Witnesses in Malaysia reported seeing bright objects in the sky that resembled meteors but said they were likely debris.
Aerospace Corporation experts have been following the booster closely and believe the vast majority of the rocket burned up in the atmosphere, but said it’s possible up to 20 to 40 percent of the object could have remained intact by the time it hits the ground have.
So far there have been no reports of damage or injury from any of the island nations that encircle the eastern Indian Ocean.
The sights resemble China’s rocket-propelled return in 2020 and 2021, when debris landed over Africa and the Indian Ocean.
The Long March-5B rocket was launched from China on July 24 and delivered a laboratory module for the new Tiangong space station before falling back to Earth.
The United States and other countries have criticized China for its missile debris repatriation.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson blasted the People’s Republic of China in a statement about the country’s lack of transparency about the potentially catastrophic event.
The United States and other countries have criticized China for its missile debris repatriation. TikTok/this_is_vice
So far, there have been no reports of damage or injury from any of the island nations that ring the eastern Indian Ocean.TikTok/justified
“The People’s Republic of China did not share specific trajectory information when its Long March 5B rocket fell back 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 the potential risk of debris impact, especially for heavy-duty vehicles like the Long March 5B, which pose a significant risk loss of life and property. This is critical to using space responsibly and keeping people safe here on Earth,” Nelson said.
As of Saturday night, Chinese officials had not publicly commented on the reentry.