Part of the Chinese rocket disintegrated over the Indian Ocean

Sylvie Claire / May 9, 2021


A large segment of China's rocket that re-entered the atmosphere Sunday disintegrated over the Indian Ocean on Sunday, China's space agency announced, after intense speculation about where the 18-ton object might fall.


According to tracking and analysis, at 10:24 a.m. (02:24 GMT) on May 9, 2021, the first stage of the Long March 5B carrier rocket entered the atmosphere," China's Manned Space Engineering Office said in a statement, providing coordinates of a point in the Indian Ocean near the Maldives.

He said that most of this segment disintegrated and was destroyed upon entering the atmosphere.


The Chinese authorities had affirmed that the uncontrolled return of the segment of the Long March-5B rocket, which had placed on April 29 on orbit the first module of its space station, presented little risk.

Space-Track, which used US military data, also confirmed the entry into the atmosphere.

Anyone following the #LongMarch5B reentry can relax. The rocket has dropped, he tweeted.


The descent of the segment corresponds to the predictions of some experts according to which there was a strong chance that they would be damaged at sea because the planet is covered with 70% of water.

But an uncontrolled entry of an object of this size has raised concerns about damage and possible casualties, despite the low statistical probability.


The American and European space authorities followed with attention the situation and tried to determine when and where it could fall again.

In 2020, debris from another Long March rocket crashed into villages in Côte d'Ivoire, causing damage but no injuries.

In April 2018, China's Tiangong-1 space laboratory had disintegrated upon entry into the atmosphere, two years after it stopped working.


China has been investing billions of euros in its space program for several decades.

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