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No damage reported in the Philippines by Chinese rocket debris

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — No damage was reported in an area of ​​the western Philippines where debris from a rocket that powered part of China’s new space station is believed to have fallen, a Philippine official said Monday. .

Philippine Space Agency official Marc Talampas said authorities had been advised to be on the lookout for rocket debris, which may have splashed in sea waters off Palawan province.

“We are monitoring the situation and have also issued an advisory to the public to be vigilant, avoid contact with any suspected floating debris, and report to local authorities immediately,” Talampas told The Associated Press.

China’s Manned Space Agency reported on Sunday that most of the Long March-5B rocket’s final stage burned out after entering the atmosphere. He said the booster would be allowed to fall without guidance.

The Chinese agency’s announcement did not specify whether the remaining debris fell on land or sea, but said the “landing zone” was at 119 degrees east longitude and 9.1 degrees north. north latitude. It is in the waters southeast of Palawan’s capital, Puerto Princesa.

The Philippine Space Agency has not received any notification from its Chinese counterpart regarding the rocket debris.

China has been criticized for letting rocket stages fall to Earth unchecked twice before. NASA accused Beijing last year of “failing to maintain responsible standards for their space debris” after parts of a Chinese rocket landed in the Indian Ocean.

The country’s first space station, Tiangong-1, crashed into the Pacific Ocean in 2016 after Beijing confirmed it had lost control of it. An 18-ton rocket fell out of control in May 2020.

China has also faced criticism after it used a missile to destroy one of its old weather satellites in 2007, creating a debris field that other governments say could endanger other satellites.

On July 24, the launch of the Long March-5B, China’s most powerful rocket, sent Wentian Laboratory into orbit. It was attached to the main module of Tianhe, where three astronauts live.

The remains of a separate cargo spacecraft that serviced the station fell in a predetermined area in the South Pacific after most of it burned up on reentry, the Chinese government said earlier.


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