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Chinese rocket debris hits Earth, accuses NASA of 'significant risk of loss of life and property'

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The wreckage of a huge Chinese rocket crashed to Earth over the Indian Ocean on Saturday, prompting US space officials to once again criticize China’s lack of information sharing about the booster’s re-entry into the atmosphere.

China’s space agency said most of the wreckage from the final stage of the Long March 5B burned up on space force murmured While it was confirmed that the booster had re-entered over the Indian Ocean, technical details such as the location of the collision were given to China.

“The People’s Republic of China did not share specific trajectory information as the Long March 5B rocket fell to Earth,” said NASA administrator Bill Nelson separately. “All space nations should follow established best practices and share this kind of information in advance to reliably predict potential debris impact risks, especially for heavy-lift rockets like the Long March 5B. Serious risk of loss of life and property.”

Days before the crash, Western space experts warned of an uncontrolled descent of a rocket booster weighing 25.4 tons. Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Center for Astrophysics run by Harvard University and the Smithsonian Institution, said it was unusual for China to do a launch and have part of the rocket re-enter uncontrolled. The United States and others are designing their rockets so that debris falls in “very predictable places,” he said.

Aerospace, a U.S.-funded nonprofit that provides technical advice on space missions based in El Segundo, Calif., said the chances of debris landing in populated areas were “not zero. ”, estimating a probability of more than 88%. His 80% of the world’s population lives under the footprint of possible re-entry debris.

Experts warned that many of the giant boosters would burn up upon re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere, but as many as 40% of the giant chunks would survive and fall to the ocean or land. A terrestrial trajectory was shown that traversed part of the volcano and bypassed Cape Africa before passing over land in Southeast Asia.

This is the third uncontrolled invasion by Chinese rocket boosters in several years. In May 2021, another Long March rocket fragment landed in the Indian Ocean. Nelson issued a statement at the time criticizing China’s handling of space debris and lack of transparency.

China has denied Western concerns about debris, calling it an attempt at smear, amid the growing space race between the United States and China.

U.S. and Western media have “deliberately exaggerated” the potential for uncontrolled and injured Chinese rocket debris and are “clearly malicious,” Shanghai-based news site Guancha .cn said last week. The Global Times said Western media are projecting a “sour” mentality towards China’s aerospace sector.

The Long March 5B rocket took off on July 24, carrying one of the heaviest payloads in recent years, a module from China’s under-construction Tiangong space station. China’s space station was launched after the United States banned Beijing’s participation in the International Space Station.

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