The Chinese space agency on Sunday (May 9) announced that a large segment of a Chinese rocket re-entered the atmosphere of the Earth and disintegrated over the Indian Ocean. The news has come as a relief for many as speculations were rife over where the 18-tonne object would come down.
Earlier, China had claimed that there was not much risk from the freefalling segment of the Long March-5B rocket, which was used to launch the first module of China’s new space station into the orbit of Earth on April 29.
“After monitoring and analysis, at 10:24 (0224 GMT) on May 9, 2021, the last-stage wreckage of the Long March 5B Yao-2 launch vehicle has reentered the atmosphere,” the China Manned Space Engineering Office said in a statement.
The Chinese space agency added that most of the segment disintegrated and was destroyed during re-entry.
Monitoring service Space-Track, which uses military data of the US, also confirmed the re-entry.
“Everyone else following the #LongMarch5B re-entry can relax. The rocket is down,” it tweeted.
“We believe the rocket went down in the Indian Ocean, but are waiting on official data from @18SPCS,” it added in a separate tweet.
Earlier, some experts had claimed that the debris of Chinese rocket would fall into the ocean as around 70 percent of the planet is covered by water.
“The probability of causing harm… on the ground is extremely low,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said last week.