Chinese Rocket Debris Crashes Into Indian Ocean Near Maldives

Chinese Rocket Debris Crashes Into Indian Ocean Near Maldives

A large portion of a Chinese rocket has fallen back on Earth. It entered the Earth’s atmosphere and crashed soon after. The rocket segment plunged back and disintegrated over the Indian Ocean. The large object weighed 18-tonne. According to the Chinese space agency, the object’s freefall didn’t pose a threat. There was a little risk from it. NASA, however, had said that China behaved irresponsibly. It said that such uncontrolled re-entry can result in damages and casualties. The object was a part of the Long March-5B rocket. It is a heavy-lift launch vehicle. It is also the first Chinese rocket designed to use non-hypergolic liquid propellants. The rocket had launched the first module of the new space station in April this year. The station is being set up by China into Earth orbit.

China Manned Space Engineering Office said that most of the wreckage was destroyed during the freefall. A team that was monitoring the movement of the object said that it crashed in the Indian Ocean close to the Maldives. The aerial distance from Beijing to the Maldives is around 6,000. According to the US military’s Space Command, the Chinese rocket segment re-entered over the Arabian Peninsula. It remains unclear if the debris impacted the water or land. Space-Track said that the last location was recorded in Saudi Arabia. Space-Track offers monitoring services. It uses US military data to track movements. It added that operators confirmed that wreckage went into the north of the Maldives. The Maldives is a small country situated in the Indian Ocean. It lies southwest of India and the island nation of Sri Lanka.

The object’s re-entry matched the predictions of experts. Experts had said that the debris will plunge back into the ocean. Notably, more than 70 percent of Earth is covered by water. Apart from China, the US and European authorities too were tracking the movement of debris and predicted its re-entry. The object’s uncontrolled entry had triggered widespread interest among the public. When an object re-enters Earth’s atmosphere, an immense amount of heat and friction is generated. The high temperature causes them to turn into a fireball. But larger ones like Long March-5B may not disintegrate completely. Their wreckage can cause severe damage to humankind as chances are higher that pieces will land on the surface. In 2020, debris from the Chinese Long March rocket caused structural damage in villages in the Ivory Coast of West Africa.

Dorothy Martin

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