Debris from Chinese rocket has fallen to Earth

Chinese rocket debris could land near NZ today

Debris From China Rocket Launched In April May Hit Abuja, Other Cities

"After monitoring and analysis, at 10:24 (0224 GMT) on May 9, 2021, the last-stage wreckage of the Long March 5B Yao-2 launch vehicle has reentered the atmosphere", it said in a statement.

The military is analyzing the possibility of debris from the rocket surviving reentry and falling to Earth.

The US military says that a segment of a Chinese rocket is expected to reenter the earth's atmosphere above the Mediterranean basin at about 2 a.m. UTC Sunday. It was reported to have damaged several buildings, though no injuries were recorded.

Most of the debris reportedly burned up in the atmosphere over the Indian ocean.

The core stage of the first Long March 5B that returned to Earth a year ago weighed almost 20 tonnes, surpassed only by debris from the Columbia space shuttle in 2003, the Soviet Union's Salyut 7 space station in 1991, and NASA's Skylab in 1979.

To avoid such scenarios, some experts have recommended a redesign of the Long March-5B rocket - which does not have the ability to control its descent from orbit.

"There's clearly a significant chance that it's going to come down on land", Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, told CNN on Saturday.

Over 70% of the Earth's surface is covered in ocean, Ripley explained, meaning that it was most likely the rocket would crash into either the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans, but the possibility that it could hit a populated area on land has scientists concerned.

"It is common practice across the world for upper stages of rockets to burn up while reentering the atmosphere", said Wang Wenbin, a spokesman at the Chinese foreign ministry, at a regular media briefing on May 7.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters on Friday that the debris would burn up on re-entry calling its descent "common worldwide practice".

China's Long March 5B rocket was used to launch the main module of its first permanent space station to host astronauts long term, the latest success for a programme that has realised a number of its growing ambitions in recent years.

He said China was closely following the rocket's path toward Earth and would release any information about it in a "timely manner". By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.

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