US Space Command Issues Statement After Incident with Chinese Object Over Texas
The second stage of a Chinese rocket that boosted military satellites into space in June broke up over Texas on Wednesday, U.S. Naval Institute News reported Thursday.
The report said two defense officials confirmed that part of a Chinese Long March 2D rocket weighing about 4 tons disintegrated after breaking through the atmosphere over the Lone Star State at 17,000 miles per hour.
The USNI News report said U.S. Space Command had confirmed that the rocket body re-entered the atmosphere above the United States.
“U.S. Space Command can confirm the People’s Republic of China CZ-2D Rocket Body, SCC# 52910, reentered the Earth’s atmosphere over the southern region of North America at approximately 8:30 pm [Mountain Time] on March 7, 2023,” the command said in a statement.
Space Command pointed to the re-entry as a dangerous hazard brought about by the government of China.
“This was an uncontrolled reentry, meaning it was not steered but rather its orbit decayed and lowered naturally,” it said.
“This type of behavior reinforces the need for better international norms regarding high-risk uncontrolled reentries.”
U.S. officials didn’t know whether any debris had struck the ground, USNI News reported.
It said the rocket stage re-entered the atmosphere over West Texas on a northeast track.
“The debris field is over the least populated counties in the state,” the report said, citing Texas Demographic Center data.
The rocket had delivered three military electronic signals surveillance satellites to space, Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics told the outlet.
📸 Badge and close-up pictures of the CZ2D Y64 rocket. pic.twitter.com/aXO9Eqc98Z
— CNSA Watcher (@CNSAWatcher) June 23, 2022
The satellites are expected to provide China with monitoring capability over the South China Sea.
The rocket stage disintegration over Texas is the latest in a series of Chinese intrusions into American skies.
Last month, a spy balloon crossed the continental United States before President Joe Biden ordered it shot down off the coast of South Carolina.
China has also targeted American territory for observation with a growing network of satellites.
“In the past 10 years, China has doubled its launches per year and the number of satellites in orbit,” a Department of Defense report last year said.
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