Missile remnants from China landed in the Indian Ocean on Sunday (9), and most of its components were destroyed upon re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere, according to Chinese state media. For the past few days, there has been speculation as to where the point of impact would be.
According to the Chinese space program, parts of the long March 5th landed at a location with coordinates of 72.47 degrees east and 2.65 degrees north. The coordinates place the point of impact in the ocean west of the Maldives archipelago.
The Long March, launched last week, was the second deployment of the 5B variant since its maiden flight in May 2020. Last year, parts of the first Long March 5B rocket crashed in Côte d’Ivoire and damaged several buildings. No injuries were reported.
With most of the earth’s surface covered in water, the likelihood of hitting a populated area was slim, and experts said the likelihood of injury was even lower. Uncertainty about the missile’s orbit and China’s failure to ensure the safety of the process fueled concerns.
Since large parts of NASA’s Skylab space station in Australia in July 1979, most countries have tried to avoid such uncontrolled reentry, said Harvard astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell.
The Global Times, a Chinese tabloid published by the country’s official newspaper calling it “Western hyperbole,” fears the missile is “out of control” and could cause damage.
The rocket, which put an unmanned module into orbit to house three crew members on a permanent Chinese space station, is slated for another 10 missions by 2022 to complete the station