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NASA criticizes China over handling of rocket re-entry after debris crashes in Indian Ocean

"China is failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris," a NASA said.

Updated: May 10, 2021 - 5:29pm

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NASA is criticized China for failing to meet "responsible standards" for allowing a spent, out-of-control rocket to crash to Earth.

The debris from the rocket landed Sunday in the Indian Ocean – but not before essentially putting world on red-alert about where it might crash to Earth.

"Spacefaring nations must minimize the risks to people and property on Earth of re-entries of space objects and maximize transparency regarding those operations," NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said Sunday, according to CNN. "China is failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris."

The rocket in question –  the 40,000 pounds, 18-foot-tall, Long March 5B – launched into space on April 29 with a new Chinese satellite part. After the rocket spent its fuel, it was purportedly left to hurtle uncontrollably through space until Earth's gravity brought it down.

The US Space Command said most of the rocket burned up upon reentry over the Arabian Peninsula before crashing just west of the Maldives. However, it is uncertain if any debris hit the islands.

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