An unguided Chinese rocket crash-landed in the Indian Ocean after space debris ‘lit up the night sky’ over Malaysia.
The US Space Command confirmed that the rocket returned to the Indian Ocean at 17:45 Moscow time. Sun USA.
In a tweet, the space agency said: “USSPACECOM can confirm that the Long March 5B (CZ-5B) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) re-entered the Indian Ocean at approximately 10:45 AM MST (Mountain Daylight Saving Time) on July 30th.
“We refer you to #PRC for more information on the technical aspects of re-entry, such as potential debris dispersion + impact site.”
Chinese officials have yet to confirm the exact details of the plane crash.
Incredible footage has emerged showing the spacecraft disintegrating over Kuching in Sarawak, Malaysia.
The wreckage is believed to have landed in the Indian Ocean, but may also have ended up in the Malaysian city of Bintulu.
Astronomer Jonathan McDowell tweeted: “Space Forces confirmed disintegration at 16:51 UTC (Universal Coordinated or Greenwich Mean Time) at approximately 113°E 3N (Bintulu, Sarawak).
Experts were trying to plot the trajectory of the massive rocket as it made an unpredictable reentry.
The Aerospace Corporation explained in a graph that reentry could have occurred anywhere along two trajectories.
In one possible path, the rocket will first appear over the Indian Ocean and then fly south under South Africa and across the South Atlantic Ocean.
He would then be spotted near the city of São Paulo in Brazil, which has a population of over 12 million.
After that, it was supposed to pass northwest through South America along the west coast of Mexico and the United States.
On this trajectory, it would pass close to both San Diego, with a population of about 1.4 million, and Los Angeles, where almost 4 million people live.
Then he had to go to the Pacific Ocean.
In the second projection, the scientists said the rocket would fly past Japan and then head south and pass over countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia.
It then had to fly across the Indian Ocean before crashing into the South Atlantic Ocean.
Earlier this week, the Beijing government said the missile posed no danger to anyone on the ground.
On Sunday, the Long March 5B launched to deliver a laboratory module to a new Chinese space station under construction in orbit.
This was the third flight of China’s most powerful rocket since its first launch in 2020.
The rocket is large enough that its many pieces of debris could likely survive the fiery re-entry and rain debris over an area about 2,000 kilometers long and about 70 kilometers wide, independent US analysts said Wednesday.
The overall risk to people and property on the ground was “quite low,” aerospace analyst Ted Muhlhaupt told reporters at a briefing.
This is because 75 percent of the earth’s surface in the potential debris path is water, desert, or jungle.
However, there is a possibility that rocket fragments will fall over a populated area.
This story originally appeared on Sun USA and has been reproduced with permission.
Originally published as Chinese rocket returns to Earth on video