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Chinese Rocket Reportedly Lands in Indian Ocean, Ending Days of Speculation

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There’s a new load of Chinese junk at the bottom of the Indian Ocean.

Chinese state media on Saturday, which cited as its sources the China Manned Space Engineering Office, said the debris from Long March 5B rocket debris landed in the Indian Ocean west of the Maldives, according to Reuters.

“The vast majority of components was ablated and destroyed during reentry into the atmosphere,” the Chinese agency said, according to The Washington Post.

The U.S. Space Command’s Space Track Project alerted Americans that, “Everyone else following the #LongMarch5B reentry can relax. The rocket is down,” The Post reported.

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Although objects from space lose orbit routinely, most are much smaller than the massive rocket, which had been used to send part of China’s space station into orbit. That means they burn up when returning to the atmosphere. The size of the rocket engendered fears that pieces large and small would tumble to the surface and strike a populated area.

“An ocean reentry was always statistically the most likely,” said astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Jonathan McDowell in a tweet. “It appears China won its gamble (unless we get news of debris in the Maldives). But it was still reckless.”

“Norms have been established,” McDowell said, according to CNN.

“There’s no international law or rule — nothing specific — but the practice of countries around the world has been: ‘Yeah, for the bigger rockets, let’s not leave our trash in orbit in this way.'”

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NASA Administrator Bill Nelson rebuked China in a statement posted on NASA’s website.

“Spacefaring nations must minimize the risks to people and property on Earth of re-entries of space objects and maximize transparency regarding those operations,” he said. “It is clear that China is failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris.

“It is critical that China and all spacefaring nations and commercial entities act responsibly and transparently in space to ensure the safety, stability, security, and long-term sustainability of outer space activities,” he said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said China followed “standard international practice” and that  “China is always committed to the peaceful use of outer space,” according to The Post.

Last May, China’s first Long March 5B made a similar uncontrolled re-entry, scattering debris across the Atlantic Ocean and part of western Africa. At the time, estimates of the rocket’s path indicated that had it returned to Earth 30 minutes sooner, debris would have landed on the U.S.

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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at jackwritings1@gmail.com.
Location
New York City
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Foreign Policy, Military & Defense Issues




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