In Malaysia and Indonesia, local residents have found metal debris, which is believed to be the Chinese space rocket Changzheng- 5B.
Chinese space rocket Long March-5B entered the Earth's atmosphere on Saturday, July 30, and according to representatives of the Chinese space agency, most of it burned up in the atmosphere. But the remaining debris fell into the Sulu Sea between the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. But local media reports that a metal ring with a diameter of 5 meters and other fragments of smaller sizes were found in Indonesia, and similar fragments were found in Malaysia. It is believed that these are the remains of a Chinese Long March-5B rocket, according to The Guardian.
On July 24, the Chinese space rocket Changzheng-5V delivered the second segment of the Chinese space station into orbit, as Focus wrote. After that, the spent stage of the rocket began an uncontrolled approach to the Earth. At first, experts assumed that it would fall in an unknown place on the planet on August 1, then new data appeared that spoke of the rocket entering the atmosphere on July 31.
But, as Focus already wrote, the second stage of the Long March-5V rocket entered the Earth's atmosphere on July 30 and did not completely burn out. The remaining fragments, and according to American experts, this is from 20% to 40% of the 22-ton rocket did fall on the planet.
According to reports from the Chinese space agency, the rocket fragments did not fall on land, but in the Sulu Sea, which is located between the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.
But according to new media reports in Malaysia and Indonesia, debris from a Chinese missile did land on land. In particular, in Malaysia, local residents near one of the villages found a charred metal ring about 5 meters in diameter.
An astrophysicist from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, USA, Jonathan McDowell, believes that this ring is the size of a spent stage of a Chinese space rocket. Also, residents of Indonesia told local media that they found metal fragments that wedged into the ground to a shallow depth.
As a result of the fall of debris, neither infrastructure nor people were damaged.
According to McDowell, based on the quality of the photos published by the local media, it cannot be said with 100% certainty that these are the wreckage of the Long March-5V rocket. But he is sure that the fragments of the rocket definitely landed not only in the sea, according to the Chinese side, but also on the territory of two Asian countries.
“I still believe that a lot of the debris from that rocket hit land and it could have done significant damage if it had landed a little closer to the local villages,” says McDowell.
According to the scientist, now I design most of the space rockets in such a way that it would be possible to avoid the uncontrolled entry of the spent rocket stage into the atmosphere. But Chinese space rockets have fallen to Earth for the third time in 2 years, but fortunately, all these incidents did not lead to the death of people.
Many experts criticize China for not being able to ensure the controlled descent of its rockets after missions to earth. Some scientists believe that a similar fall of debris should be expected this fall, when another Chinese rocket will go into space to deliver the third segment of the Chinese space station there.
“I believe that in order to avoid such incidents, a little fuel should remain on the launch vehicle so that its entry into the atmosphere can be controlled. But there are no international regulations that prescribe this,” says an analyst at an American non-profit organization Aerospace Corporation Darren McKnight.
Focus also wrote that a three-meter piece of Elon Musk's rocket crashed into an Australian farmer's field. It is believed to be a piece of SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft that has been in orbit since 2020.