26th February 2024 10:23 am
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Long March 5B has come down

After many stressful days in an orbit it shouldn’t have been in, the Long March 5B rocket has crashed back down to Earth.

The rocket weighing in at 23 tons crashed down to Earth over the Arabian Peninsula at around 04:15 on Sunday morning.

While US Space Command said it didn’t know whether the debris had impacted land or water, Space.com reports that the rocket hit the ocean.

Indeed, Space-Track reported via Twitter that the Long March 5B rocket fell into the Indian Ocean.

This entire incident has once again brought the topic of space debris into the public conversation. NASA administrator Bill Nelson slammed the Chinese government in a statement ahead of Long March 5B’s re-entry.

“Spacefaring nations must minimize the risks to people and property on Earth of re-entries of space objects and maximize transparency regarding those operations,” writes Nelson.

While the Long March 5B rocket did eventually splashdown, there were fears that the rocket would make landfall over an inhabited area.

“It is clear that China is failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris. It is critical that China and all spacefaring nations and commercial entities act responsibly and transparently in space to ensure the safety, stability, security, and long-term sustainability of outer space activities,” the NASA administrator added.

The size of the rocket was also a concern for many as while satellites will often fall back to Earth, those satellites don’t weigh over 20 tons. Those satellites also often find their grave in the South Pacific Ocean Uninhabited Area. This area of the ocean is uninhabited, located at the furthest point from humanity and shipping routes don’t cross it.

We highly recommend this piece from Gizmodo if you have even a passing interest in how we cull old space tech.

Last week really was a mad one for space nerds like ourselves.

There was this catastrophe with the Long March 5B rocket and then SpaceX had a doubly whammy with Crew-1 returning to Earth and Starship SN15 touching down safely during a test.

Here’s hoping this week is slightly calmer.

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