Debris of China's Out-Of-Control Rocket Falls Near Maldives
On 11th May 2021
Early Sunday morning, debris from a massive Chinese rocket landed in the Indian Ocean near the Maldives, according to China's space administration. The majority of the debris had burned up upon re-entry, according to the study. It was unclear if any of the remaining items had made it to any of the Maldives' 1,192 islands.
The possibility that the rocket's debris might hit a populated area, however remote, had prompted people all over the world to watch its trajectory for days. After China's announcement, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson issued an extraordinary rebuke, accusing the notion of "failing to meet responsible expectations for their space debris."
On April 29, the main module of China's next space station, Tiangong, was launched by a Long March 5B rocket. Normally, rockets' massive booster stages fall to Earth after being jettisoned, but the Long March 5B's 23-ton core stage followed the space station section all the way to orbit.
Matjaz Tancic/EPA, via Shutterstock
Because of friction caused by the rocket rubbing against air near the top of the atmosphere, it quickly began to lose altitude, resulting in what is known as an "uncontrolled re-entry" back to Earth.
The debris entered Earth's atmosphere over the Mediterranean, flew over the Middle East, and landed near the Maldives, south of India, according to China's space administration, which had said nothing about unregulated re-entry until Sunday. On social media, people in Israel and Oman reported seeing rocket debris.
China has made several remarkable accomplishments in spaceflight in recent years. It put a spacecraft named Tianwen-1 in orbit around Mars a few months ago, and in December it gathered rocks from the moon's surface and returned them to Earth.
It hopes to advance its Mars mission by landing a robotic rover, Zhurong, on the red planet's surface in May or June. Only the United States has succeeded in landing on Mars for an extended period.