Another Chinese Rocket Crashes to Earth Out of Control

WASHINGTON — A Chinese rocket crashed to Earth over the Indian Ocean on Saturday, but NASA said Beijing did not share the “specific trajectory information” needed to know where debris could land. Stated.

us space force Said Long March 5B-Y3 re-entered over the Indian Ocean at around 12:45 PM EDT (1645 GMT) on Saturday. I asked China.

“All space nations, following established best practices, should share this kind of information proactively to enable reliable predictions of potential debris impact risks,” said NASA administrator Bill Nelson. “This is essential for the responsible use of space and the safety of people on Earth.”

A Malaysian social media user posted a video of what appeared to be debris from the rocket.

Aerospace Corp, a government-funded nonprofit research center near Los Angeles, said it would be reckless to allow the entire main core stage of the Long March to return to Earth in an uncontrolled reentry. This rocket is China’s most powerful and weighs 23 tons.

China’s space program is run by the People’s Liberation Army, the military arm of the ruling Communist Party. The United States has excluded China from the International Space Station because of its military ties.

Earlier this week, analysts said the rocket body would disintegrate once it entered the atmosphere, but a large number of clumps were sent to rain down debris over an area about 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles) long and about 70 kilometers long. Large enough to likely survive fire re-entry. (44 miles) wide.

The Chinese embassy in Washington did not immediately comment. China said earlier this week it would closely track the debris, but said it poses little risk to anyone on the ground.

The Long March 5B launched on July 24 to deliver an experimental module to a new Chinese space station under construction in orbit. It marks her third flight of China’s most powerful rocket since its first launch in 2020.

Debris from another Chinese Long March 5B landed in Ivory Coast in 2020, damaging several buildings in the West African country, but no injuries were reported.

In contrast, the United States and most other space-producing nations generally spend extra money on rocket design to avoid large, uncontrolled re-entry. Entered orbit in 1979 and landed in Australia.

Last year, NASA and others accused China of being opaque after Beijing remained silent about the estimated debris trajectory and reentry window for the last Long March rocket flight in May 2021.

Fragments of that flight landed in the Indian Ocean.

By David Shepardson. The Associated Press contributed to this report.