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Chinese rocket debris fell to Earth: Long March 5B videos, updates, map and trajectory

WENCHANG, CHINA - JULY 24, 2022 - A Long March-5B-3 carrier rocket carrying the WENTIAN experiment module blasted off at 14:22 on July 24, 2022 from the Wenchang Space Launch Site in Wenchang, Hainan Province, China. About 495 seconds later, the WENTIAN experiment module separated from the rocket and entered the preset orbit, making the launch a complete success. (Photo credit should read CFOTO/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Chinese rocket falls to earth: Live Updates


Long March 5B (CZ-5B) re-entered over the Indian Ocean at 1:45 pm (ET) claim US Space Command

- NASA administrator Bill Nelson slams China for not sharing "specific trajectory information"

- Malaysian Space Agency confirms "rocket debris caught fire while entering the earth's airspace"

- No official statement as yet from China on Long March 5B rocket situation


Malaysian Space Agency confirms return of rocket debris

Experts had been scrambling to identify the likely landing spot of the Chinese rocket which re-entered the earth's atmosphere on Saturday evening. Predictions pointed to a landing spot in the sea and video footage appears to show the debris burning up in the skies over the Indian Ocean. 

Finding confirmation is tricky but the Malaysias National Space Agency released a statement confirming that debris from the Long March 5B rocket had been detected:

"The rocket debris caught fire while entering the earth's airspace and the movement of the burning debris also crossed the Malaysian airspace and was detected in several areas, including crossing the airspace around the state of Sarawak."


"The People’s Republic of China (PRC) did not share specific trajectory information as their Long March 5B rocket fell back to Earth." 

"All spacefaring nations should follow established best practices, and do their part to share this type of information in advance to allow reliable predictions of potential debris impact risk, especially for heavy-lift vehicles, like the Long March 5B, which carry a significant risk of loss of life and property."

"Doing so is critical to the responsible use of space and to ensure the safety of people here on Earth."

Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator

Incredible video footage shows rocket burning up on re-entry

A huge 23-ton rocket launched by the Chinese space agency returned to the earth yesterday evening, completing an uncontrolled descent that caused some concern amongst international observers. Rather than charting a specific route back to the planet, China's Longest March rocket was simply left to fall back to earth and was captured on video camera burning up upon re-entered the atmosphere above the Indian Ocean. 


Rocket debris lands in the sea near Philippines

Debris from China's Long March-5B rocket, which was launched just last week, burned up upon re-entering the atmosphere at 12:55am local time. The China Manned Space Agency had previously confirmed that the booster would be allowed to fall unguided back to the planet, causing some concern about exactly where the huge 23-ton debris might land. 

NASA accused Chinese authorities of “failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris” last year, after a similar incident when parts of a Chinese rocket landed in the Indian Ocean. Experts will be relieved to know that the debris returned to earth without incident but there are signs that other world powers are not happy with China's lax attitude. 


Rocket debris looked like 'fireworks display'

People in Sarawak, a province of Malaysia on the island of Borneo, reported sightings of the rocket debris on social media, with many believing that the debris resembled a pyrotechnics show at first. Some witnesses reportedly thought they were seeing a meteor shower or a comet.


Debris from Chinese rocket caught on camera in Malaysia

Caught on camera...debris from Chinese rocket lit up night sky some parts of Malaysia.

The US space command confirm the development China's Long March 5B (CZ-5B) re-entered over the Indian Ocean in the early afternoon (ET)


Long March 5B debris field

The debris field from the Chinese rocket (Long March 5B) that re-entered the atmpsphere earlier today is in the Sulu Sea close to the island of Palawan (Philippines).


Wreckage from a Chinese Long March 5B rocket first stage made a fiery reentry into Earth’s atmosphere over Southeast Asia Saturday, six days after launching a space station module into orbit.

Debris from the roughly 30-meter-long, five-meter-wide empty and roughly 22 metric ton core stage of the Long March 5B at 12:45 p.m. Eastern 30 July, U.S. Space Command have announced.


NASA Administrator Bill Nelson comments on Long March rocket

NASA administrator Bill Nelson singles out China for not sharing “specific trajectory information as their Long March 5B rocket fell back to Earth” over the Indian ocean today.


Long March 5B (CZ-5B) re-entered over the Indian Ocean claim US Space Command

US Space Command confirm that the Chinese rocket (March 5B (CZ-5B) re-entered over the Indian Ocean and await a statement from China relating to the situation.


The Aerospace Corporation expects the rocket to drop into the sea between 12:00 pm-2:00 pm (ET)

The Aerospace Corporation has issued a new update on the possible time of the rocket's fall, which is expected to be between 12-2 (pm) ET.

As for its trajectory, the image shared by this source indicates that Long March 5B is currently expected to fall into the sea.


“It’s low risk on a global scale, but it’s unnecessary risk, and it can affect people, so that’s why we’re talking about it."

Ted Muelhaupt, Consultant at Aerospace Corp.

“When it comes down, it will certainly exceed the 1-in-10,000 threshold [of risk] that is the generally accepted guideline... And one of the reasons we’re paying particular attention to this is that in May of 2020, the first test launch of this let debris come down in Africa.”

Ted Muelhaupt, Consultant at Aerospace Corp.

Experts clear India from the possible landing spot

The Chinese rocket debris reentering the earth's atmosphere is currently at an altitude of around 150,000ft, and is expected to land later today. Experts are unsure about the route that the debris will take as it continues its uncontrolled descent back to terrra firma, but it is thought that it will land somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. Once the altitude dips below 120,000ft experts predict that it will increase its velocity and fall very sharply. 

Where does the space debris come from?

The launch of the Long March rocket

On Sunday, 24 July the Chinese Long March rocket was launched from the island of Hainan (southern China). The rocket was achieved the goal of delivering a new space station module in orbit, but there are now some concerns about the remnants of that rocket as it makes its return to earth. It is thought that the 23-ton debris will land somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean but as it continues its uncontrolled descent experts are still unsure about exactly where it will land. 


What are the chances of the Chinese rocket debris landing on the US?

In short, no one knows. The debris from China's 'The Long March' spacecraft is expected to reenter the earth's atmosphere at around 2pm (ET), but as the matter is in uncontrolled descent scientists don't know exactly where it will land. Most estimates point to an area of the Atlantic Ocean as the most likely landing spot, and it is thought that the odds of it landing on your head are roughly one in one billion. 


How high up is the Long March rocket?

You can see the height in the atmosphere of the Long March rocket on the right of the dashboard at the bottom, in kilometres. As of 8.30 a.m. ET it was at a height of 170 kilometres (105 miles). In general objects will meet enough resistance from the air to start to glow at 50 to 75 miles (80 to 120 km), at which point the rocket will rapidly begin to descend as it's slowed by the friction of moving through the top layer of the atmosphere. 


How much of the Long March rocket could hit the ground?

While the booster stage of the Long March rocket will start to burn up as it falls to Earth, the sheer size of it means a fair amount will make it to the ground, smashing into the surface of the Earth at several hundred miles per hour. 

The stage weighs some 25-tons and according to Holger Krag, head of the Space Safety Program Office for the European Space Agency, talking to SpaceNews, a decent rule of thumb is for 20-40% of the original dry mass to hit the surface. So that's five to 10 tons of flaming metal coming crashing down. 


Footage shows Chinese rocket "tumbling" to earth

Amateur video footage claims to show the Chinese rocket, the Long March 5B, falling back to earth in an uncontrolled descent. The rocket was launched on July 24 from the island of Hainan in southern China and successfully placed a new space station module in orbit.

However Chinese authorities have opted not to control the disposal of the first stage of the rocket, and the 21-ton piece of debris is now falling back to earth. The EASA describ it as “one of the largest pieces of debris to re-enter the atmosphere in recent years”. 



'Small risk' of land fall

Chief Meteorologist Emeritas, Bill Steffan, has shared his mild warning to us land dwellers.


What does the Long March 5B look like?

If you're wondering what the rocket looked like, then just take a look below.


Live tracking the Long March 5B

If you're interested in following the rocket's path via a live feed, then have a look right here:


How big is the Long March 5B?

According to reports, it's not small and moreover it’s China’s most powerful rocket too.

The rocket’s main core stage, that's to say that massive part that's  which is hurtling toward our planet as you read these words, is100 feet long and weighs in at a massive 22 tons (approximately 44,000 pounds).


In case you're wondering...

At the moment there is no clear indication as to where or when exactly, but stay with us for updates.


What was the Long March 5B doing up in space and why is debris going to fall?

As per reports, the Long March 5B rocket was on a mission to deliver the Wentian lab module to China’s personal space station, which is currently under construction.

Regarding why there is a current threat, the space debris that resulted from the rocket’s July 24 launch, has now been sucked in by the Earth’s gravity and as such, is now being pulled back home.


CAA warns of possible flight disruptions

According to reports, The Civil Aviation Association has warned that there could in fact be disruptions where flights are concerned in the coming hours. Indeed, the CAA advised that the fall of the Chinese rocket, Long March 5BA “could impact flights planned” to a wide range of European holiday destinations.


Where is the rocket right now?

UPDATE: July 29 @ 9:07 PM ET. 

At present the rocket is over Pakistan, however, it's expected descent path is still said to be off the coast of south west Africa. 

Alert over fall of debris from Chinese Long March 5B rocket: where it could fall and risk of damage to life and property

The remains of a Chinese rocket could hit southern Europe, or the continental US this weekend, with a possibility that the impact takes place on land. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued the warning, stating that the debris from the Long March 5B rocket is expected to enter the atmosphere between Saturday July 30 and Sunday July 31, falling uncontrollably to hit the Earth’s surface.

The European Union’s Satellite Surveillance and Tracking Service (SST) has studied the possible routes that the remains of the rocket could follow, “one of which could potentially affect the airspace of southern Europe”, the EASA explained in the statement.


When is the rocket expected to make landfall?

The European Space Agency has predicted that the rocket will make landfall on either Saturday July 30th or Sunday July 31st. 


UPDATE: July 29 @ 7:18 PM ET. 

The current rocket position is predicting that the rocket will land off the coast of south west Africa. 


Images from take off

Takeoff image of the Long March 5-B-Yao-3 rocket, the Chinese rocket carrying the "WenTian" experimental module that was launched in the Chinese city of Wenchang. The experimental module successfully entered predetermined orbit, and will dock at the Chinese space station.


Radar at the Morón de la Frontera base in Spain to monitor re-entry

Italy and Spain will be two of many countries the Chinese rocket, Long March 5B, that is heading towards earth. 

In Spain there is a radar at the Morón de la Frontera base (Seville), which depends on the Spanish Space Surveillance and Tracking Center located at the Torrejón de la Frontera military base. Officials at the Ardoz in Madrid will also be monitoring the reentry of the rocket.