Chinese rocket falls to Earth, NASA says Beijing does not share information

Spectators watch as the Long March-5B Y3 rocket carrying China’s Wentian space station laboratory module explodes from the Wenchang Space Shuttle Launch Site on July 24, 2022 in China. On Sunday, China launched one of two laboratory modules to complete its orbiting space station.

Luo Yunfei | China News Service | beautiful pictures

A Chinese rocket crashed back to Earth on Saturday over the Indian Ocean but NASA said Beijing had not shared “specific orbital information” needed to know where possible debris could be. falling.

The US Space Command said the Long March 5B rocket returned to the Indian Ocean around 12:45 p.m. EDT Saturday (1645 GMT), but moved the question about “technical aspects of reentry such as positioning.” potential debris dispersal effects” for China.

“All nations of space travel should follow established best practices and do their part to share this type of information in advance to make reliable predictions of impact hazard.” debris movement,” said Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator. “Doing so is crucial to the responsible use of space and ensuring the safety of those here on Earth.”

Social media users in Malaysia have posted videos of what appears to be rocket debris.

Aerospace Corp, a government-funded nonprofit research center near Los Angeles, said it had recklessly allowed the entire core of the rocket – which weighs 22.5 tonnes (about 48,500 lb) – to return. back to Earth in an uncontrolled return flight.

Earlier this week, analysts said the rocket’s body would disintegrate as it plowed through the atmosphere, but would be large enough that many chunks could potentially survive after igniting again as a rain of debris over an area about approx. 2,000 km (1,240 miles) about 70 km (44 miles) wide.

The Chinese embassy in Washington was not immediately available for comment. Earlier this week, China said it would closely monitor the debris but said it posed little risk to anyone on the ground.

The Long March 5B exploded on July 24 to deliver a laboratory module to China’s new space station under construction in orbit, marking the third flight of China’s most powerful rocket since the first flight. First launch in 2020.

Debris from another Chinese Long March 5B made landfall in Ivory Coast in 2020, damaging several buildings in that West African country, although no injuries were reported.

By contrast, he said, the United States and most other space-related nations often have to pay the extra cost of designing their rockets to avoid large, uncontrolled re-entry — an imperative observed. much since the massive mass of the NASA Skylab space station fell from orbit in 1979 and landed in Australia.

Last year, NASA and others accused China of being shady after Beijing authorities kept quiet about the estimated trajectory of the debris or the re-flying window of the last Long March rocket flight in May. 2021.

Debris from that flight eventually landed harmlessly in the Indian Ocean.

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