Space junk strikes multiple countries after rocket falls back to Earth

The uncontrolled descent of a recently launched Long March 5B rocket has strewn debris in Indonesia, Malaysia, & the Philippines.

Published Aug 7, 2022 9:03 AM CDT   |   Updated Mon, Aug 29 2022 1:05 PM CDT
2 minutes & 6 seconds read time

A recent rocket launch by the China National Space Administration (CNSA) has seen debris come crashing back to Earth.

The nation launched a Long March 5B to deliver the second module of its in-progress space station, Tiangong, to orbit on July 24th, 2022. The 25-ton rocket was then expected to make an uncontrolled descent back to Earth on July 31st, contrasting with the standard practice of a controlled re-entry to land in the Pacific Ocean. Instead, the falling rocket booster slowly lost altitude as it fell through Earth's atmosphere and broke up over Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

"There's a picture of the big piece at the end of the fuel tank sitting on a field that's very convincing. It's the right diameter. It looks like a piece that sort of survived reentry - and is right on the path of the reentry," Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and avid tracker of objects in Earth's orbit, told Business Insider.

Experts are sure that the debris found throughout the countries, corresponding with the re-entry path of the rocket, came from the Long March 5B, though only China can officially confirm this. Though no one was struck by any of the falling debris, a recent study revealed that within the next decade, there is 6-10% chance someone will die as a result of falling space debris. The risk of falling space junk increases with every launch, and can be the result of less recent launches, such as the recent appearance of debris from an older SpaceX launch on a farm.

Read more: 25-ton rocket will soon fall back to Earth and hit unknown location

Read more: Space station's new robotic arm tested, showing off amazing views

Space junk strikes multiple countries after rocket falls back to Earth 03 |

Two people in hazmat suits testing for radioactivity on debris believed to have come from the Long March 5B rocket booster, in Sarawak, Malaysia. Credit: Malaysia News Agency

Space junk strikes multiple countries after rocket falls back to Earth 02 |

Wreckage found in Balaikarangan, Indonesia, taken from local news reports, on July 31, 2022. Credit: Malaysia News Agency

Buy at Amazon

3D Metal Puzzle Tiangong Space Station Model, DIY Assembly Puzzle

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
* Prices last scanned on 9/30/2022 at 10:02 am CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Adam grew up watching his dad play Turok 2 and Age of Empires on a PC in his computer room, and learned a love for video games through him. Adam was always working with computers, which helped build his natural affinity for working with them, leading to him building his own at 14, after taking apart and tinkering with other old computers and tech lying around. Adam has always been very interested in STEM subjects, and is always trying to learn more about the world and the way it works.

Newsletter Subscription

    Related Tags

    Newsletter Subscription
    Latest News
    View More News
    Latest Reviews
    View More Reviews
    Latest Articles
    View More Articles
    Partner Content
    Advertise With Us