Made in China ™
A Chinese rocket measuring around 100 feet long took an uncontrolled plunge back into the atmosphere on Monday, becoming the largest piece of space junk to crash back down to Earth in decades.
The Long March 5B rocket was launched on May 5, carrying an unnamed prototype of a newly-designed Chinese crew capsule. After about a week in orbit, the core stage of the rocket re-entered the atmosphere at around 11 a.m., moving at thousands of miles per hour, Forbes reported.
“It is the most massive object to make an uncontrolled reentry since the 39-tonne Salyut-7 in 1991,” tweeted Jonathan McDowell, a Harvard astrophysicist who tracks objects in orbit.
A bit of the spacecraft measuring about the size of a small bus splashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of West Africa, according to the US Space Command, which was tracking the re-entry.
Dead satellites and old rocket stages regularly re-enter the atmosphere, but they are rarely as massive and often equipped with means to steer them safely back, typically over the South Pacific.