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Out-Of-Control Chinese Rocket Finally Falls To Earth After Hurtling Around Planet For Days

by : Cameron Frew on :
Out-Of-Control Rocket Finally Falls To Earth After Hurtling Around Planet For DaysPA Images

A Chinese rocket once hurtling towards an uncertain location on Earth has finally landed in the Indian Ocean. 

Long March 5B was initially launched from Wenchang Space Launch Centre on April 29, carrying the first module of the country’s future space station into orbit.

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However, as it came tumbling back towards the planet, there was a rather alarming realisation: we didn’t know where it was going to land. After orbiting Earth at 18,000mph, it re-entered the atmosphere at 2:24am today, May 9 – fortunately, most of the debris disintegrated before landing in the Indian Ocean.

As per BBC News, US Space Command confirmed ‘the Chinese Long March-5b re-entered over the Arabian Peninsula’, adding it was ‘unknown if the debris impacted land or water’.

However, according to Chinese state media, any undestroyed parts of the rocket touched down somewhere southwest of India and Sri Lanka. At 100ft long and weighing 18 tonnes, it’s said to be one of the largest items to fall back to Earth in an undirected dive for decades.

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While some feared the rocket could land on inhabited land, Chinese experts were quite adamant it would land somewhere over international waters and posed no major risk to life. US officials had also been tracking the rocket’s flight path, but expressed no interest in shooting it down.

In a statement, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said, ‘Spacefaring nations must minimise the risks to people and property on Earth of re-entries of space objects and maximise transparency regarding those operations.’

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He added, ‘It is clear that China is failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris. It is critical that China and all spacefaring nations and commercial entities act responsibly and transparently in space to ensure the safety, stability, security, and long-term sustainability of outer space activities.’

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Of course, there’s already memes too, mostly along the lines of, ‘It landed in the Indian Ocean… why couldn’t it land on me bruh.’

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: News, China, NASA, Now, Rocket, Space

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BBC News
  1. BBC News

    China rocket debris 'disintegrates over Indian Ocean' - Chinese media