Report: Debris from Chinese Rocket Found in Indonesia, Malaysia

    Photo: AP

    The Facts

    • Debris believed to be from a Chinese rocket that early local time on Sun. crashed in an "uncontrolled return" to Earth has reportedly been discovered near villages in Indonesia and Malaysia. This includes a 5-meter diameter ring of charred metal near Kalimantan, Indonesia, which is believed to be a cap on a rocket propellant tank.

    • Kalimantan, Indonesia, and Sarawak, Malaysia - where the debris purportedly landed - are both on the island of Borneo. No injuries or property damage were reported, however, populated villages are only a few hundred meters away from the identified impact areas.

    The Spin

    Anti-China narrative

    Though uncontrolled re-entries of the Long March-5B model haven't injured anyone yet, future operations still pose threats to people and structures worldwide. China doesn't follow best practices regarding the safety of space programs and fails to share information for reliable projections about re-entries. It must be held to account.

    Pro-China narrative

    The development of the Chinese space program has been forcing critics in the West to show their true face, including the media and US agencies. Space missions carried out by China, including those involving the Long March-5B rocket, are following international norms. The facts point to a track record of safety, despite the hysteria.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 20% chance that China will land the next person on the Moon, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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