Chinese rocket crash-lands near Mauritania
The Long March 5B (CZ-5B) rocket was launched into space on 5 May before its core stage, which serves as the backbone and weighs almost 18 tonnes, made an uncontrolled descent back to Earth on Monday and crashed into the waters of Mauritania’s west coast.
The mission of the Chinese rocket was to launch a cargo capsule and a new-generation spacecraft into space which would later be used to send astronauts to the Moon from the Chinese space station, as well as for possible future Moon landings that China would conduct.
The descent of the 17.8-tonne piece of the rocket was detected and tracked by a unit of the US Air Force, the 18th Space Control Squadron, which tracks space debris within Earth’s orbit. It was speculated that it would land somewhere around Africa, the US, or Australia, with it would most likely hit water, with little probability of it hitting land. ■