A Chinese rocket has possibly crash-landed in the Indian Ocean after setting the sky over Malaysia ablaze. Several people captured footage of what they believed was a meteor shower last night, later confirmed to be debris from the Chinese booster rocket made an uncontrolled return to Earth on Saturday.China’s uncontrolled Long March 5B rocket lit up the night sky as it reentered the Earth’s atmosphere near Malaysia. The US Space Command confirmed the re-entry, writing "USSPACECOM can confirm the People’s Republic of China (PRC) Long March 5B (CZ-5B) re-entered over the Indian Ocean at approx 10:45 am MDT on 7/30.”
Looks like that Chinese rocket just burned up over Malaysia. Now wait to hear what big pieces splashed/thumped to Earth. https://t.co/SVh2UXVIyG
— Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) July 30, 2022
Several stunning videos of the rocket reentering the Earth’s atmosphere surfaced online.
According to The Verge, it is not clear where the rocket debris landed. It is believed the debris crashed in the Indian Ocean but may have also struck the Malaysian town of Bintulu.
NASA administrator Bill Nelson criticized Beijing on Twitter Saturday, saying that the failure to share the details of the rocket's descent was irresponsible and risky.
"All spacefaring nations should follow established best practices, and do their part to share this type of information in advance," Nelson wrote, "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."
He added: "Doing so is critical to the responsible use of space and to ensure the safety of people here on Earth".
The Long March 5B rocket was used last Sunday to launch an uncrewed spacecraft, named Wentian, carrying the second of three modules China needed to complete its new Tiangong space station.