Credit: Robert Christy/Used with permission

China’s Long March-5B big booster stage made a fiery reentry to Earth.

The U.S. Space Force’s 18th Space Control Squadron (SPCS) at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California confirmed the rocket stage reentered Earth’s atmosphere on May 9 and fell into the Indian ocean north of the Maldives.

The Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) has issued this statement: “Coastguard Squadron is active after receiving reports of rocket debris fallen in the Maldivian waters.”

Remnants of the carrier rocket reentered the Earth’s atmosphere at 10:24 a.m. (0224 GMT) on Sunday, with most of the debris burning up, according to the China Manned Space Engineering Office. After monitoring and analysis, the office said the landing area was located at longitude 72.47 degrees east, latitude 2.5 degrees north over the sea, the vast majority of debris was destroyed by the re-entry process of ablation.

Image courtesy of European Union Space Surveillance and Tracking (EUSST)

Similarly, the EU Space Surveillance and Tracking group also confirmed that the rocket body reentered on 2021-05-09 at 02:32 UTC ±25 min.





For a summary of the booster’s fall to Earth, go to this Robert Christy’s link at:

NASA statement

Meanwhile, newly sworn in NASA Administrator Sen. Bill Nelson released the following statement Saturday regarding debris from the Chinese Long March 5B rocket:

Long March-5B Y-2 carrier rocket liftoff. Credit: CASC

“Spacefaring nations must minimize the risks to people and property on Earth of re-entries of space objects and maximize transparency regarding those operations.

“It is clear that China is failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris.

“It is critical that China and all spacefaring nations and commercial entities act responsibly and transparently in space to ensure the safety, stability, security, and long-term sustainability of outer space activities.”

Credit: CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrab

Wang Wenbin (spokesperson, Ministry of Foreign Affairs).
Credit: CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrab














Informative videos

You may find these China Central Television (CCTV) videos of interest about the Long March-5B “one-and-half stage” rocket.

Also, here’s another CCTV video of Wang Wenbin (spokesperson, Ministry of Foreign Affairs), discussing the extremely low likelihood of damage to aviation or ground facilities of the Long March-5B Y2 deorbit.

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