NASA criticizes China after rocket debris lands in Indian Ocean
NASA denounced China for “failing to meet responsible standards” after debris from an uncontrolled rocket reentered Earth’s atmosphere late Saturday evening.
Chinese state media, citing the China Manned Space Engineering Office, reported that the debris landed in the Indian Ocean, west of the Maldives, according to Reuters.
Most of the debris burned up in the atmosphere, the office added.
U.S. Space Command confirmed the rocket’s reentry on Sunday but said it was “unknown” if the debris touched down on land or water.
In a statement on Saturday, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson criticized Beijing, writing that it is “critical” for China and other countries to “act responsibly and transparently in space.”
“Spacefaring nations must minimize the risks to people and property on Earth of re-entries of space objects and maximize transparency regarding those operations. It is clear that China is failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris,” Nelson, a former Democratic senator from Florida, wrote.
“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,” he added.
The debris came from a China Long March 5B rocket that took off from China’s Hainan island on April 29, according to Reuters.
According to The Associated Press, people in Jordan, Oman and Saudi Arabia spotted debris from the rocket, posting videos of the falling chunks on social media.