New Delhi: Hours after the debris from the Chinese ‘Long March 5B’ rocket landed in the Indian Ocean on Sunday (May 9, 2021), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said that China is failing to meet the responsible standards.
In an official statement, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said that the spacefaring nations must minimize the risks to people and property on Earth of re-entries of space objects.
Nelson also stated that the spacefaring nations should maximize transparency regarding those operations.
“It is clear that China is failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris,” NASA said.
The US space agency added, “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.”
The statement came after the remnants of China’s biggest rocket landed in the Indian Ocean and as per media reports, the debris landed near the Maldives archipelago.
Harvard-based astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell told Reuters that the potential debris zone could have been as far north as New York, Madrid or Beijing, and as far south as southern Chile and Wellington, New Zealand.
“Since large chunks of the NASA space station Skylab fell from orbit in July 1979 and landed in Australia, most countries have sought to avoid such uncontrolled re-entries through their spacecraft design,” said McDowell.
“It makes the Chinese rocket designers look lazy that they didn`t address this,” said McDowell.
This is pertinent to note that the ‘Long March’ was the second deployment of the 5B variant since its maiden flight last year. In 2020, pieces from the first Long March 5B fell on Ivory Coast and had damaged several buildings. However, no injuries were reported.