Science & Technology

Most of Chinese rocket burned up upon re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere

Beijing, Jul 31 (EFE).- China’s Long March 5B Y3 carrier rocket re-entered the atmosphere early Sunday and the “vast majority” of the device burned up during the re-entry, the Chinese space agency announced.

The debris re-entered the earth’s atmosphere at 12:55 am and fell in a sea area located at 119 degrees east longitude and 9.1 degrees north latitude, state-run newspaper Global Times reported, citing the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA).

China’s foreign ministry said during the week that the risk of damage from the rocket debris was “extremely low.”

“According to information at hand, this rocket is designed with special technology, and the overwhelming majority of its components will burn up during the re-entry into the atmosphere,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on Wednesday.

Zhao added that China “has all along pursued the peaceful use of outer space in accordance with international laws and the international customary practice,” the Global Times reported.

The Chinese rocket was launched on July 24 to transport a module to the country’s space orbital platform, “Tiangong” and has been orbiting the Earth ever since.

It’s not the first time the international space monitoring community has had to track an uncontrolled Chinese craft. In May last year, another Long March 5B rocket crashed back to Earth, although it almost completely disintegrated and landed in the Indian Ocean.

In recent years, Beijing has invested heavily in its space program and achieved milestones such as the successful landing of a probe on the far side of the Moon in January 2019, an achievement that no country had achieved to date.

The Tiangong space station, whose name means “heavenly palace” in Mandarin, is under construction and is expected to be ready by the end of this year, according to official forecasts.

The Tiangong will weigh about 70 tons and is expected to operate for about 15 years orbiting about 400 kilometers (249 miles) from the Earth’s surface.

The International Space Station, a US-led initiative to which China is barred from access, could stop operating in 2024, placing the Tiangong in the privileged position of being the only such station. EFE


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