A Chinese booster rocket made an uncontrolled return to Earth on Saturday, US Defense Department officials said, as they reprimanded Beijing for not sharing information on the potentially dangerous object’s descent.
US Space Command “confirms the People’s Republic of China (PRC) Long March 5B (CZ-5B) may re-enter the Indian Ocean at 7/30 at approximately 10:45 a.m. MDT,” the US military unit said on Twitter , referring to the official name of China.
#USSPACECOM The People’s Republic of China (PRC) confirmed Long March 5B (CZ-5B) could re-enter the Indian Ocean at 7/30 at approximately 10:45 a.m. MDT. we refer you #PRC For more information on the technical aspects of reentry, such as potential debris dispersion + impact location.
— US Space Command (@US_SpaceCom) 30 July 2022
“We refer you to the #PRC for more information on the technical aspects of re-entry such as potential debris dispersion + impact location,” it said.
The Long March 5B rocket was used last Sunday to launch an unmanned spacecraft called Ventian, carrying the second of three modules China needed to complete its new Tiangong space station.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson criticized Beijing on Twitter on Saturday, saying its failure to share details of the rocket’s landing was irresponsible and risky.
“All space-travelling countries should follow established best practices, and do their part to share this type of information beforehand,” Nelson wrote, “to allow reliable predictions of potential debris impact risk.” , especially for heavy-duty vehicles like the Long March 5B. , which carry a significant risk of loss of life and property.”
He added: “Doing so is critical to the responsible use of space and ensuring the safety of people on Earth.”
The Tiangong space station is one of the crown jewels of Beijing’s ambitious space program, which has landed robotic rovers on Mars and the Moon, and made China the third nation to put humans in orbit.
The new module piloted by the Long March 5B successfully docked with Tiangong’s core module on Monday and the three astronauts who have been in the main compartment since June successfully entered the new laboratory.
China has poured billions of dollars into space flight and exploration as it seeks to build a program that reflects its stature as a rising global power.
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