Chinese rocket debris bedazzles sky before falling into Indian Ocean
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Or is it Superman? No, it's a Chinese rocket lighting up the night sky! Debris falling from a Chinese rocket through the night sky on Saturday became a stunning spectacle. Videos showed burning parts of the Chinese rocket Long March 5B falling through the sky as people gasped at the stunning red, blue, and yellow hues.
Rocket disintegrated over Indian Ocean
The rocket disintegrated over Malaysia's Kuching city and re-entered the earth's atmosphere before finally falling into the Indian Ocean. Confirming the disintegration, US Space Command said that the Long March 5B rocket re-entered the Earth at 12.45pm EDT on Saturday. Thousands living in east and southeast Asia witnessed what looked like a firework show or meteor showers and shared videos online.
Watch: Chinese rocket's debris falls over Malaysia
What did the US Space Command say?
"We can confirm the Chinese Long March 5B re-entered over the Indian Ocean at approx 10:45 am MDT. We refer you to the PRC for further details on the technical aspects such as potential debris dispersal+ impact location," the US Space Command tweeted.
Rocket re-entry mistaken for meteor shower
Experts clarify rocket re-entry after viral videos
Astronauts quickly dispersed rumors of a meteor shower and clarified that this was indeed debris of a Chinese rocket falling through the night sky. "Looks like that Chinese rocket just burned up over Malaysia. Can't wait to hear what big pieces splashed/thumped to Earth," said NASA astronaut Chris Hadfield. "This is almost certainly the re-entry of Chinese CZ-5B," stated ESA DG Josef Aschbacher.
US space agency attacks China
NASA chief Bill Nelson attacked China for poor handling of its rocket re-entering the earth. He wrote on Twitter, "The People's Republic of China did not share specific trajectory information as their rocket fell back to Earth." Nelson further stressed that nations must share information in advance to allow reliable risk predictions which could even lead to loss of life and property.