Nasa criticises China over uncontrolled rocket crash in Indian Ocean

·2-min read

Nasa has criticised China for failing to share “specific trajectory information” after its rocket fell back to Earth and into the Indian Ocean.

US Space Command said the Long March 5B rocket re-entered over the Indian Ocean at approximately 4.45pm on Saturday.

Nasa administrator, Bill Nelson criticised Beijing on Saturday for its failure to share the details of the rocket’s descent.

Mr Nelson said: "All spacefaring nations should follow established best practices and do their part to share this type of information in advance to allow reliable predictions of potential debris impact risk.

"Doing so is critical to the responsible use of space and to ensure the safety of people here on Earth."

Social media users in Malaysia posted video of what appeared to be rocket debris.

Aerospace Corp, a government funded nonprofit research center near Los Angeles, said it was reckless to allow the rocket’s entire main-core stage - which weighs 22.5 tons (about 48,500 lb) - to return to Earth in an uncontrolled reentry.

Earlier this week, analysts said the rocket body would disintegrate as it plunged through the atmosphere but is large enough that numerous chunks will likely survive a fiery re-entry to rain debris over an area some 2,000 km (1,240 miles) long by about 70 km (44 miles) wide.

China said earlier this week it would closely track the debris but said it posed little risk to anyone on the ground.

The Long March 5B blasted off July 24 to deliver a laboratory module to the new Chinese space station under construction in orbit, marking the third flight of China’s most powerful rocket since its maiden launch in 2020.

Fragments of another Chinese Long March 5B landed on the Ivory Coast in 2020. Several buildings were damaged but no injuries were reported.

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