The Chinese Space Agency announced that a large part of the Chinese missile disintegrated today when it returned to Earth’s atmosphere and crashed in the Indian Ocean, near the Maldives.
According to the trajectory and analysis, at 10:24 (03:34 in Lisbon) on May 9, 2021, the first floor of the Long March 5B missile returned to the atmosphere, according to the China Manned Space Engineering Bureau, in Communication.
The coordinates provided by the Chinese authorities indicate a location close to the Maldives, in the Indian Ocean, in southern India.
The size of the body, about 30 meters and between 17 and 21 tons, and its speed, which is close to 28 thousand kilometers per hour, have led to the activation of the most important space monitoring agencies in the world, such as the Pentagon or the European Union Space Surveillance and Surveillance Service (EUSST).
As of Friday, Beijing rated the risk of damage to the Earth’s surface from uncontrolled entry into the missile’s atmosphere as “extremely weak”.
Last week, China, using its Long March 5B rocket, launched the Tianhe Unit, or Celestial Harmony, its first permanent space station, which aims to host long-term astronauts.
“The probability of damaging air or land activities is very low,” Chinese diplomatic spokesman Wang Wenbin told the press.
He added that “due to the technical composition of this missile, most of its components will be burned and destroyed upon entering the atmosphere.”
Last week’s launch was the first of 11 missions required to build and equip the future Chinese space station and send a crew of three by the end of next year.
At least 12 astronauts train to live on the station, including veterans from previous missions. The first manned mission, Shenzhou-12, is scheduled to be carried out in June.
When completed, at the end of 2022, the Chinese space station is expected to weigh about 66 tons, which is much smaller than the International Space Station, which will weigh about 450 tons and whose first module was launched in 1998.