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China's space rocket debris not yet located: MNDF

Lamya Abdulla
10 May 2021, MVT 10:47
A photo taken by MNDF overlooking a reef near Male' atoll: MNDF has been searching Central Maldives for the space debris -- Photo: MNDF
Lamya Abdulla
10 May 2021, MVT 10:47

Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) has said on Sunday that debris from a large Chinese rocket has not been located yet, despite China's space administration announcing earlier in the day.

Chinese authorities said that the rocket fell into the Indian Ocean around 0724hrs Maldives time. Most of the debris had burned on re-entry and none has been located so far.

Even though no debris has been found so far, MNDF's Central Area Coast Guard has been searching around central Maldived, the area in which they believe the debris had fallen in.

According to New York Times, the rocket, a Long March 5B, launched the main module of China’s next space station, Tiangong, on April 29. NYT noted that usually, the large booster stages would be immediately dropped back to Earth after they were jettisoned. However the 23-ton core stage of the Long March 5B accompanied the space station segment all the way to orbit.

This was the largest debris to fall back on earth this manner.

Debris from a Chinese rocket launched in May 2020 had fallen onto a couple of villages in the Ivory Coast in a similar manner last year, Forbes had reported. That weighed around 18-tons, the then biggest debris to re-enter the world uncontrolled.

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