“No other country is leaving these 20-ton objects in orbit to re-enter in an out-of-control fashion,” Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, told CNN reporter Jim Acosta on Saturday afternoon.
“All space-faring nations should follow established best practices, and do their part to share this type of information in advance to allow reliable predictions of potential debris impact risks, particularly for heavy vehicles, such as Long March 5B, which have a high risk of losses,” Nelson said. in life and property.
“Doing so is critical to the responsible use of space and to ensuring the safety of people here on Earth,” he added.
In a statement, China’s manned space agency said the remnants of the rocket re-entered the atmosphere at around 12:55 a.m. on Sunday Beijing time — or around 12:55 p.m. ET on Saturday.
Most of the waste was burned during the re-entry process over the Sulu Sea, which lies between Borneo island and the Philippines, the agency added.
“What we really want to know is which piece ended up on the floor,” McDowell told CNN. “It may take a little longer for the reports to be filtered again.”
Videos and photos posted online show several bright objects shining in the night sky over Kuching in Sarawak, Malaysia. Vanessa Yulan, a local, shared with CNN a video she took around 12:50 a.m. local time, the same as Beijing time.
On Sunday, the Malaysian National Space Agency issued a statement confirming the discovery of “burning debris” from the Chinese Long March 5B rocket. “The debris of the missile caught fire as it entered the airspace of the Earth, and the movement of burning debris crossed the Malaysian airspace and was detected in several areas, including crossing the airspace around the state of Sarawak,” the agency said.
CNN’s Yong Xiong and Heather Chen contributed to this report.
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The US Space Force’s budget includes $60 million for a “tactically responsive space.”
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