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State media: Chinese rocket debris crashes into Indian Ocean


Kendy

State media: Chinese rocket debris crashes into Indian Ocean
The rocket, which carried a Chinese space station section into orbit, was launched on April 29. (Getty)

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Beijing – The remains of a Chinese rocket that was hurtling back towards Earth have crashed into the Indian Ocean, the country’s space agency says.

The bulk of the rocket was destroyed as it re-entered the atmosphere, but state media reported that debris landed just west of the Maldives on Sunday.

There have been days of speculation over where the rocket might land, and United States officials and other experts warned its return risked potential casualties.

But China insisted the risk was low.

The Long March-5b vehicle re-entered the atmosphere at 10:24 Beijing time (02:24 GMT) on Sunday, state media reported, citing the Chinese Manned Space Engineering office. There were no reports of injuries or damage.

It said debris from the 18-tonne rocket, one of the largest items in decades to have an undirected dive into the atmosphere, landed in the Indian Ocean at a point 72.47° East and 2.65° North.

US Space Command, meanwhile, simply said the rocket had “re-entered over the Arabian Peninsula”. It did not confirm the landing point reported by Chinese media, saying instead that it was “unknown if the debris [had] impacted land or water”.

The monitoring service Space-Track, which uses US military data, said the rocket was recorded above Saudi Arabia before it fell into the Indian Ocean near the Maldives. (BBC)