Chinese rocket debris is not seen in the northern Philippines

Chinese rocket debris is not seen in the northern Philippines

MANILA, Philippines (AP) – Philippine officials have warned of the potential danger to aircraft and ships from debris from a new Chinese rocket launch that could land in the northern waters of the Philippines , authorities said Thursday, adding that no debris has been seen so far.

The Philippine Space Agency said China’s Long March 7A rocket was launched on Tuesday night from the Wenchang Space Launch Center on Hainan island. That prompted the agency to alert Philippine authorities of a possible danger in two offshore areas where the debris could fall.

The possible “fall zones” were 71 kilometers (44 miles) from the town of Burgos in Ilocos Norte province and 52 kilometers (32 miles) from the town of Santa Ana in Cagayan province, the space agency said, citing information from a notice to pilots issued by the company. Civil Aviation Administration of China.

Parts of a rocket that disintegrate before reaching offshore space should fall less than an hour after a rocket launch, Philippine Space Agency spokeswoman Tricia Zafra said.

“So far, no sight. We continue to seek reports,” Zafra told The Associated Press. “Hopefully, there will be no injuries or damage.”

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines warned on Wednesday in a notice to pilots of the possible danger caused by debris in the two areas off the coast of the northern Philippines.

“Although debris from a CZ-7A is unlikely to fall on land features or inhabited areas in Philippine territory, falling debris poses a significant threat to ships, aircraft, fishing boats and other vessels that pass through the fall zones, ” the Philippine Space Agency said in a statement on Tuesday.

In July, debris from the central stage of a Long March 5B rocket launched by China landed in Philippine waters in an uncontrolled reentry, the agency said. No damage or injuries were reported.

Fishermen at the time found a torn metal sheet showing part of the Chinese flag and the markings of a Long March 5B rocket in the West Philippine Sea about 160 kilometers (100 miles) from the town of Mamburao in Occidental Mindoro province, according to the space agency, at using the Philippine name for a part of the South China Sea closer to its west coast.

The agency asked the public on Tuesday to inform the authorities immediately if suspicious floating debris is seen at sea and warned people not to retrieve such materials or be in close contact with them.

Manila’s space agency says it is working with the Department of Foreign Affairs to secure Philippine ratification of two UN treaties, including one that promotes accountability among nations for possible damage or injuries resulting from launch things like satellites to space.

China has been criticized for allowing rocket stages to fall to Earth unchecked at least twice before. Beijing last year accused NASA of “failing to meet responsible standards for its space debris” after parts of a Chinese rocket landed in the Indian Ocean.

The country’s first space station, Tiangong-1, crashed into the Pacific Ocean in 2016 after Beijing declared it had lost control. An uncontrolled 18 ton rocket crashed in May 2020.

China has also been criticized after using a missile to destroy one of its unusual weather satellites in 2007, creating a debris field that other governments said could endanger other satellites.

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