New Delhi, India The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) stated that China is failing to meet responsible standards hours after the debris from the Chinese ‘Long March 5B’ rocket landed in the Indian Ocean on Sunday (May 9, 2021).
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson stated in an official statement that spacefaring nations must minimise the risks of re-entry of space objects to people and property on Earth.
Nelson also stated that spacefaring nations should be as transparent as possible about their operations.
“It is clear that China is failing to meet responsible standards in terms of space debris,” NASA stated.
“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 US space agency added.
The statement came after the remains of China’s largest rocket landed in the Indian Ocean, near the Maldives archipelago, according to media reports.
According to Reuters, 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 and landed in Australia in July 1979, most countries have sought to avoid such uncontrolled re-entries through spacecraft design,” McDowell explained.
“The fact that the Chinese rocket designers didn’t address this makes them look lazy,” McDowell said.
It’s worth noting that the ‘Long March’ was the 5B variant’s second deployment since its maiden flight last year. Pieces of the first Long March 5B fell on Ivory Coast in 2020, causing damage to several buildings. However, there were no reported injuries.