A runaway Chinese missile has crashed in the Indian Ocean as debris “illuminated the night sky over Malaysia”.
US Space Commanded confirmed the rocket re-entered at 5:45pm BST over the Indian Ocean.
In a tweet, the space agency said, “USSPACECOM can confirm that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) Long March 5B (CZ-5B) reentered over the Indian Ocean at approximately 10:45 am MDT on July 30.
“We refer to the #PRC for more details on the technical aspects of reentry, such as
Chinese officials are yet to confirm the exact details of the crash.
This is incredible footage purportedly showing the spacecraft disintegrating over Kuching in Sarawak, Malaysia.
Debris is believed to have landed in the Indian Ocean but may have also hit the Malaysian town of Bintulu.
Astronomer Jonathan McDowell tweeted: “Now the Space Force has confirmed the decay at 1651 UTC approximately 113E 3 N (Bintulu, Sarawak).
“(When they say +- 1 minute they say ‘projected’ but they mean ‘we saw it’).”
Experts had been trying to plot the massive rocket’s trajectory as it made an unpredictable re-entry.
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The Aerospace Corporation explained in a graphic that re-entry could have happened anywhere along two trajectories.
In one possible path, shown in the yellow line above, the missile would first appear over the Indian Ocean before sweeping south under South Africa and across the southern Atlantic Ocean, heading towards Brazil and near the city of Sao Paolo, the one has population of more than 12.3 million
It would then sweep northwest across South America along the west coast of Mexico and the United States, passing San Diego, with a population of about 1.4 million people, and Los Angeles, home to nearly 4 million people.
It is then expected to turn into the Pacific Ocean.
On the other, blue line, the rocket could sweep across the Far East, past Japan, home to nearly 126 million people, before flying south and passing countries like the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia before crossing the Indian Ocean and into South Africa drives south and then lands in the southern Atlantic.
The Beijing government said earlier this week that the rocks posed no low risk to anyone locally.
The Long March 5B rocket launched Sunday to deliver a laboratory module for China’s new orbiting space station, which is under construction.
It was the third flight of China’s most powerful rocket since it was first launched in 2020.
As with the first two flights, the rocket’s entire main core stage – which is 100 feet (30 meters) long and weighs 22 tons (about 48,500 pounds) – has already reached low orbit.
The rocket body disintegrated as it fell through the atmosphere.
It’s large enough that numerous boulders could likely survive fiery re-entry from debris rain over an area about 2,000 km (1,240 miles) long and about 70 km (44 miles) wide, independent US analysts said on Wednesday.
The overall risk to people and property on the ground is fairly low, aerospace analyst Ted Muelhaupt told reporters in a news conference.
That’s because 75 percent of the Earth’s surface in the potential path of debris is water, desert, or jungle.
Nevertheless, there is a possibility that parts of the rocket will fall over a populated area.
https://www.thesun.ie/tech/9180696/chinese-rocket-crash-lands-over-malaysia/ Runaway Chinese missile crash lands in Indian Ocean as ‘debris lights up night sky over Malaysia’