Chinese Rocket Debris Lands Near Maldives

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Annika Damon, Writer

Debris from a Chinese rocket landed near the Maldives in the Indian Ocean early morning on Sunday, May 9th. 

The debris was from a rocket that sent the first module of their new space station, Tiangong. The crash was caused by the friction rubbing against air at the top of the atmosphere making an “uncontrolled re-entry” back to Earth. 

At first, scientists did not know where the rocket was going to land but assumed it would be in the ocean. On Sunday, the Chinese space agency reported that that the rocket debris was flying over the Mediterranean and the Middle East before it crashed near the Maldives. 

NASA has criticized China’s handling of the rocket’s re-entry to Earth. NASA Administrator Sen. Bill Nelson said in a statement on NASA’s website that “Spacefaring nations must minimize the risks to people and property on Earth of re-entries of space objects and maximize transparency regarding those operations.” He also added that “China is failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris.”

China is defending itself by saying that its space program should not be compared to the other countries’ programs like the U.S. The Chinese spokesperson also pointed out that debris launched by SpaceX fell on the Oregon and Washington coasts in March.