As tensions between the U.S. and China seem to heat up more every day, another component has just been added to the mix that has left U.S. Space command officials shocked and on high alert.
According to reports, Chinese space junk disintegrated over Texas last week after reentering the atmosphere.
The U.S. Naval Institute News reported that on March 8, 2022, a second-stage booster from a Chinese rocket that launched on June 23, 2022, and launched three surveillance satellites burned up over Texas.
Defense officials told the publication that the missile was a Long March rocket, and a four-ton component reentered the atmosphere at 17,000 mph before disintegrating.
In NORAD’s description, the space junk was in a low orbit before descending back to Earth, and military officials said the debris field could extend hundreds of miles.
US Space Command confirmed with USNI that the CZ-2D Rocket Body from the People’s Republic of China reentered the atmosphere over the southern region of the continent at about 8:30 p.m. Mountain Standard Time.
In a statement, Space Command said, “This was an uncontrolled entry, meaning it was not steered, rather its orbit decayed and lowered naturally. This type of behavior reinforces the need for better international norms regarding high-risk controlled reentries.”
In the past, China has been criticized for uncontrolled reentries. In November, NASA criticized China for taking unnecessary risks with its uncontrolled reentry of a Long March 5 rocket, stating that the country does not share specific trajectory information needed to predict landing zones.
Since May 2020, China has had at least five uncontrolled entries of its space equipment.
There are 29 million people living in Texas, including several major cities such as Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, and El Paso. The Chinese rocket burned up over an unpopulated area.
Here’s how Twitter users are reacting to the incident:
One Twitter user commented, “China has absolutely no respect for aerospace range safety, or scientific accountability. Not the first time this has happened, and it won’t be the last.”
Another added, “Y’all see this on the news?? Yeah me neither. And I live in Texas!!!!”
And another added, “There is simply too much going on with China for this to be a coincidence.”
All of this of course comes after the U.S. destruction of a Chinese surveillance balloon off the coast of South Carolina after spending more than a week overflying the United States raising concerns about the security of domestic airspace
For Americans living close to the potential impact zone, these events serve as a reminder to how careful we must be when dealing with irresponsible nations like China who do not appear to take our safety seriously. This incident also serves as an important reminder for all citizens living beneath busy skies: We must remain vigilant when rogue countries are allowed free reign over our airspace and environment under weak international law enforcement regimes! Let us hope future agreements will help ensure such reckless behavior never happens again!
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