Risk of rocket debris causing any harm ‘extremely low’, China says, as US warns remnants could hit Earth


Most of the debris from a Chinese rocket will burn up on reentry into the atmosphere and is highly unlikely to cause harm, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said, as the US expresses fears that some of the pieces could hit the ground.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Friday that China was closely monitoring the entry of the rocket debris into the Earth’s atmosphere. He explained that the rocket was made from material designed to burn up on reentry, and that most of the debris will disintegrate. “The threat to air navigation and objects on the ground is extremely low,” he added.

The debris belongs to the Long March-5B Y2 rocket, which sent part of China’s planned space station into orbit on April 29. After completing its mission, the rocket detached from the space station module as planned and began uncontrolled deorbiting which will be followed by reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere.

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The US has expressed concerns that the falling debris could cause damage.
The US Defense Department said it was tracking the path of the rocket pieces as their exact entry point into the Earth’s atmosphere could not be pinpointed until the time of reentry nears. The Pentagon estimates that the debris will crash-land sometime on Saturday after passing over eastern US cities.

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