Stay away from China rocket debris, PhilSA cautions public

The Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) has cautioned the public against retrieving or coming in close contact with fallen components of a rocket launched by China on 24 July 2022.

Assuring that it closely monitored the launch of the Long March 5B (CZ-5B) rocket and the re-entry of its debris in the area in the Sulu Sea – east of the Philippine island of Palawan, PhilSA advised the public to report to local authorities any suspected space junk.

“Teams have been mobilized and prepared to implement coordination protocols with other national government agencies for the issuance of actionable information as necessary, during the debris re-entry on 31 July,” it said.

It added: “Verified reports from concerned space agencies have identified the falling rocket components to have re-entered the atmosphere from outer space at around 12:45 a.m. PhST over the Indian Ocean and subsequently have made landfall at 12:55 a.m. PhST over the Sulu Sea near Palawan (9.1° North Latitude, 119.0° East Longitude).”

PhilSA said it is expected that most of the rocket components, whose parts have been detected over the Malaysian airspace moments before its landfall, have disintegrated during re-entry into the atmosphere.

“The Philippines believes that spacefaring nations must abide by the protocols and mechanisms enshrined in the UN Outer Space Treaty, encourage close coordination, and timely resolution of issues such as space debris mitigation. This will eliminate the potential damage, harm or injury, or even loss of life on Earth,” it said, referring to China’s rocket launch.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration chided China for failing to notify other nations about its rocket’s specific trajectory information because debris from the rocket “carries a significant risk of loss of life and property.”

The Chine Embassy in the Philippines remains mum over rocket debris that fell over the Sulu Sea near Palawan.

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