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Chinese rocket stage that launched WenTian reentered the atmosphere

A 30-meter rocket landed in the ocean near the Philippines

Long March 5B core stage (Render by S.I & HDE)

The main (core) stage of the Long March 5B #Y3 rocket re-entered at 16:55 UTC on July 30, 2022. Debris that survived the passage of the 30-meter-long, 19-ton stage, made of aluminum and steel alloys, fell into the region near the islands of Panay and Mindanao in the Philippines, in the South China Sea, at 119.0° E and 9.1° N.

The carrier rocket with the WenTian module for the Chinese orbital station Tiangong was launched from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Site on the island of Hainan on July 24th. After 495 seconds, the module successfully separated from the launch vehicle and entered the intended orbit.

NASA chief Bill Nelson criticized China for not providing data on the launch vehicle's flight paths. China did not provide trajectory data for the Long March 5B launch vehicle that returned to Earth. This must be done to use the space responsibly and protect people's lives, Nelson wrote on Twitter. He noted that possible rocket debris could carry serious risks of loss of life and destruction of property. Nelson criticized the Chinese, ignoring the many cases in which US rocket debris has already landed in populated regions or shipping lanes. It is a fact, however, that in recent years it has been a frequent practice to control the trajectory of re-entry of discarded stages by Americans, Europeans, and Russians. China also makes efforts in this direction when launching other rockets, but not in the case of Long March 5.

The Long March 5B rocket is the low-orbit version of the series. The second stage was eliminated, making the 5B a “one-and-a-half stage” configuration. It is China's first stage-and-a-half orbital rocket. Its payload capacity reaches 25 tons and is mainly intended for low-Earth orbit tasks, such as the launch of modules from the Chinese space station. Weighing 837,500 kg, measuring 53.66 meters long and 11.70 meters wide, the CZ-5B has a fairing of 20.5 meters. After the rocket's first stage runs out, it gradually falls back into the atmosphere and burns up in an uncontrolled flight, the same procedure pertinent to both models.


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