'Out of control' Chinese rocket falls over Indian ocean near Maldives
'Out of control' Chinese rocket falls over Indian ocean near Maldives
AFP File Photo

A 100-foot-tall, 22-metric-tonne Chinese rocket re-entered the Earth and has come down over the Indian Ocean near the Maldives.

The "out-of-control" Chinese Long March 5B rocket "re-entered over the Arabian Peninsula at approximately 10:15 p.m. EDT (around 7.45 am India time on Sunday)," according to US Space Command that was tracking the rocket.

It was, however, still unknown if the debris impacted land or water.

The agency's official Twitter account tweeted: "Everyone else following the #LongMarch5B re-entry can relax. The rocket is down."

The Long March 5B rocket that launched the first chunk of Beijing's new space station could not be manoeuvred or controlled.

Tiangong-1, China's first prototype space station launched in 2011, was another massive object that uncontrollably reentered in 2018 but mostly broke up in the atmosphere over the South Pacific Ocean.

The "out-of-control" Chinese Long March 5B rocket will likely splashdown in the ocean on Saturday, according to a report in The Verge.

In an earlier statement, the US Space Command had said that "its exact entry point into the Earth's atmosphere cannot be pinpointed until within hours of its reentry".

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