A piece of Chinese space junk which re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere last week broke up over Texas, as per a report from the US Naval Institute News.
The outlet reported that a second-stage booster from a Chinese rocket which was launched on June 23rd, 2022, and placed three military surveillance satellites into orbit disintegrated over Texas on March 8th.
The missile was a Long March rocket, and its four-ton component that was floating in orbit reentered the atmosphere at 17,000 mph before breaking up, defense officials informed the Naval Institute News.
The space junk was in a low orbit ahead of its descent back to Earth, and military officials said the debris could be spread over hundreds of miles.
U.S. Space Command confirmed with USNI that the People’s Republic of China CZ-2D Rocket Body reentered the Earth’s atmosphere over Texas at approximately 8:30 p.m. MST.
“This was an uncontrolled entry, meaning it was not steered, rather its orbit decayed and lowered naturally,” U.S. Space Command said. “This type of behavior reinforces the need for better international norms regarding high-risk controlled reentries.”
U.S. Space Command and the China Manned Space Agency have not responded to a request from Fox News Digital in regard to rocket booster’s reentry over North America.
China has come under scrutiny in the past over uncontrolled reentries. In November, NASA hit out at China for being reckless with the uncontrolled rocket stage reentry of a Long March 5 rocket, stating that they are not sharing crucial trajectory information needed to predict landing zones and therefore reduce risk to structures and civilians.
China has had at least five uncontrolled entries of its space equipment since May 2020.
Texas has a population of 29 million people, including several large cities. The space junk disintegrated over an unpopulated area.
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