Remnants of a Chinese rocket landed in the Indian Ocean west of the Maldives late Saturday night EST, according to the China Manned Space Engineering Office, as reported by Reuters.

Most of the debris likely burned up in Earth’s atmosphere.

Original story: Rocket debris hurtles toward Earth in ‘uncontrolled re-entry’

A 23-ton piece of rocket debris traveling at a speed of 18,000 miles per hour is expected to make an “uncontrolled re-entry” back to Earth sometime late tonight or early Sunday morning.

The 100-foot-long piece of debris is a rocket booster from the Chinese rocket Long March 5B. The debris is expected to break apart, with much of it burning up in Earth’s upper atmosphere, but pieces of it are expected to reach Earth’s surface, likely falling into the ocean, as it covers 70 percent of the planet.

The Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies (CORDS) at the Aerospace Corporation is tracking the Long March 5B re-entry.

According to the nonprofit organization Aerospace Corporation, which supports national security space programs, the debris’ orbital inclination (the tilt of an object’s orbit around a celestial body, i.e., Earth) of 41.5 degrees means that re-entry can be as far north as Chicago, New York City, Rome and Beijing and as south as New Zealand and Chile, an enormous range that will be narrowed down as the debris gets closer to Earth.

Follow Aerospace Corporation updates on the re-entry on Twitter here.

Leave a Comment