China launched the Long March 5B rocket to deliver a laboratory module to the newly built Chinese space station. (July 24, 2022)
| photo: AP
The US Space Command announced on Twitter that the debris entered the atmosphere at approximately 18:45 CEST. Minutes later, the China Aerospace Exploration Agency reported that the impact area of the debris was at 119 degrees east longitude and 9.1 degrees north latitude near the island of Palawan in the western Philippines.
The US space agency NASA has criticized China’s approach to sharing information about the debris impact.
“All space-using countries should follow established best practices and seek to share this type of information in advance to reliably predict the potential risk of debris impact, especially for heavy launch vehicles such as the Long March 5B, which carry significant risk of loss of life and property. Such a procedure is of fundamental importance for the responsible use of space and ensuring the safety of people here on Earth,” NASA chief Bill Nelson said in a statement today.
China launched the Long March 5B rocket on Sunday to deliver a laboratory module to the newly built Chinese space station. It was the third flight of China’s most powerful rocket since its first launch in 2020.
As in the previous two cases, the rocket’s main stage – which is 30 meters long and weighs 22 tonnes – falls uncontrollably towards Earth after completing its mission.