NASA Administrator Sen. Bill Nelson released a statement regarding the debris from the Chinese Long March 5B rocket.
The massive rocket caused global concern following its blast off from China’s southern island of Hainan on April 29. The rocket, which was transporting China’s first new space station, mistakenly accompanied the station into orbit rather than dropping back to Earth following its launch like intended.
Once in orbit, the 100-foot, 20-ton rocket began losing altitude, and it soon became obvious that uncontrolled re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere was unavoidable.
Countries across the world kept tabs on the rocket for days, trying to pinpoint when and where it would hit based on its trajectory.
While most of the rocket’s debris burned up in re-entry, China’s space administration announced that pieces landed in the Indian Ocean early Sunday morning. It seems the debris landed near the Maldives, but it was not immediately clear if any had hit one of the area’s 1,200 islands.
Nelson responded to the incident saying, “Spacefaring nations must minimize the risks to people and property on Earth of re-entries of space objects and maximize transparency regarding those operations. It is clear that China is failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris.
“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.”