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Debris from Chinese rocket lands in Indian Ocean, not Abuja

Debris from Chinese rocket lands in Indian Ocean, not Abuja

Remnants of China’s biggest rocket landed in the Indian Ocean on Sunday, ending days of speculation over where the debris would hit.

Some reports had speculated that the debris could land somewhere in Africa or even the Nigerian capital, Abuja.

 

Last year, pieces from the first Long March 5B fell on Abidjan, in Ivory Coast, damaging several buildings. No injuries were reported.

Debris from Chinese rocket lands in Indian Ocean, not Abuja
Debris from Chinese rocket lands in Indian Ocean, not Abuja

With most of the Earth’s surface covered by water, the odds of populated area on land being hit had been low, and the likelihood of injuries even lower, according to experts.

 

Chinese state media said the bulk of the giant rocket components was destroyed upon re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.

 

 


According to China Manned Space Engineering Office, parts of the Long March 5B re-entered the atmosphere at 10:24 a.m. Beijing time (0224 GMT) and landed at a location with the coordinates of longitude 72.47 degrees east and latitude 2.65 degrees north.

 

The coordinates put the point of impact in the ocean, west of the Maldives archipelago.

 

Most of the debris was burnt up in the atmosphere, the China Manned Space Engineering Office said.

 

Debris from the Long March 5B has had some people looking warily skyward since shortly after it blasted off from China’s Hainan island on April 29.

 

The Long March-5B Y2 rocket, carrying the Tianhe module, the first and core module for the construction of China’s space station, blasted off from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on the coast of the southern island province of Hainan on April 29.

 

It was the second deployment of the 5B variant since its maiden flight in May 2020.

Debris from Chinese rocket lands in Indian Ocean, not Abuja
Debris from Chinese rocket lands in Indian Ocean, not Abuja

Citing experts and officials, NBC, an American news platform, said a piece of a rocket launched by China in late April is expected to re-enter earth’s atmosphere between late Saturday and early Sunday.

 

 


“It’s 10-stories tall and twice as heavy as a school bus, and it’s set to crash back to Earth this weekend — but no one is quite sure where or when.”

 

“The 98-foot-long, 20-ton section of China’s Long March 5B rocket is tumbling through space in an uncontrolled orbit at 18,000 miles per hour after blasting off last month carrying part of the country’s new space station., according to experts and officials,” NBC said in its report.

 

Beijing, capital of China, the American cities of New York and Los Angeles, Madrid in Spain, and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil were listed as other places where the rocket could land.

 

Scientists said the risk of it killing anyone after it re-enters the planet is small but not impossible

 

In a tweet on Friday, The Aerospace Corporation, a US nonprofit research firm, said its prediction for landing was eight hours on either side of 4:19 GMT time on Sunday.

 

It pinpointed an area near the north island of New Zealand as a possible re-entry point but said it could happen anywhere across large parts of the planet.

 

Don Pollacco, a physics professor at England’s University of Warwick, who tracks space debris, was quoted to have said, “You have got a big lump of metal in space that’s in a declining orbit because it’s rubbing up against the atmosphere. It will hit the atmosphere, bounce around a bit and it’s correct to say most of the planet is covered by water, so that’s where it will likely land.

 

 


“But there’s a chance it won’t.”

 

Asked about the rocket Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said it would burn up on re-entry calling its descent “common international practice.”

 

“The probability of causing harm to aviation activities or activities on the ground are extremely low.” he said.

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