On May 9, the debris of China’s largest rocket codenamed ‘Long March’ re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere. It disintegrated over the Indian Ocean. Based on the provided coordinated point of impact by China Central Television (CCTV), a state-sponsored media network, the segments of the rocket now lies west of the Maldives archipelago.
Debris from the large Chinese rocket which was tumbling back on earth in an uncontrolled manner, has reportedly landed in the Indian Ocean near the Maldives this morning.— Prasar Bharati News Services पी.बी.एन.एस. (@PBNS_India) May 9, 2021
Space-Track, a space monitoring agency that relies on data provided by the US military, also confirmed the fact that the rocket had fallen in the ocean. The agency wrote, “Everyone else following the #LongMarch5B re-entry can relax. The rocket is down. You can see all relevant information and updates here on Twitter/Facebook, so there is no need to keep visiting the space-track dot org website.”
@18SPCS confirms that CZ-5B (#LongMarch5B) (48275 / 2021-035B) reentered atmosphere 9 May at 0214Z and fell into the Indian ocean north of the Maldives at lat 22.2, long 50.0. That’s all we have on this re-entry; thanks for the wild ride and 30K more followers. Good night!— Space-Track (@SpaceTrackOrg) May 9, 2021
There were speculations that the rocket may fall on a populated area causing severe damage. However, experts had said a majority of the earth surface is covered with water, the maximum possibility was that the rocket would fall into an ocean. A major chunk of the rocket was destroyed on re-entry into the atmosphere.
AFP cited CCTV and said, “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 re-entered the atmosphere, and the landing area is at 72.47° east longitude and 2.65° north latitude.”
China’s uncontrolled rocket was a big headache for the world
As per reports, it was a 21-ton part of the rocket that was tumbling towards Earth uncontrollably. The fears surrounding the rocket that it could crash on an inhabited land were not totally unfounded. If the rocket debris had landed over an inhabited area, it would have similar to a small plane crash.
Notably, the rocket which is uncontrollably falling back to Earth is the same space module whose launch was gloated upon by a Chinese Communist Party body to mock India’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak. Last week, the Communist Party’s Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, on its official Sina Weibo account, posted photos of the Tianhe module launch and its fuel burn-off with what appeared to be a picture of a cremation ground in India and captioned “China lighting a fire versus India lighting a fire”. The post also included a hashtag denoting the new COVID-19 cases in India, which touched the 4 lakh mark on Saturday last week.