A large segment of China's largest rocket re-entered the Earth's atmosphere and disintegrated over the Indian Ocean on Sunday. According to the Chinese space agency, a bulk amount of its components were destroyed upon re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere.
Officials in Beijing had said there was little risk from the freefalling segment of the Long March-5B rocket, which had launched the first module of China's new space station into Earth orbit on April 29.
The China Manned Space Engineering Office released a statement that "After monitoring and analysis, at 10:24 (0224 GMT) on May 9, 2021, the last-stage wreckage of the Long March 5B Yao-2 launch vehicle has re-entered the atmosphere."
The re-entry was confirmed by the monitoring service, which uses US military data, providing coordinates for a point in the Indian Ocean near the Maldives.
"Everyone else following the #LongMarch5B re-entry can relax. The rocket is down," it tweeted. "We believe the rocket went down in the Indian Ocean, but are waiting on official data from @18SPCS," it added in a separate tweet.
The segment's descent matched predictions by some experts that any debris would have splashed down into the ocean, given that 70 per cent of the planet is covered by water. But the uncontrolled re-entry of such a large object had sparked concerns about possible damage and casualties, despite there being a low statistical chance.
"The probability of causing harm... on the ground is extremely low," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said last week.
Last year, debris from another Long March rocket fell on Ivory Coast villages. It caused no injuries or deaths, but a huge amount of structural damage was done. To avoid such scenarios, some experts have recommended a redesign of the Long March-5B rocket -- which does not have the ability to control its descent from orbit.
Meanwhile, Planetory Society of India has stated
The US Space Force's 18th Space Control Squadron has now confirmed that the CZ-5B-Y2 reentered over the Indian Ocean. The exact pinpointed location was not mentioned but they say 'north of the Maldives' at 50E 22.2N which is in the Rub al Khali desert of Saudi Arabia. While going around one of its circled journey around the earth today morning this "Rocket Body" flew above Hyderabad, before it finally hit the earth. As this is China Mission. Updates from Authentic Sources are slowly coming in the 15mins-60Mins gap...Check it as and when it comes. However misleading images, videos of previous mission or unrelated re-entry/ movie clips are is being circulated.
Planetory society of India