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Philippine Space Agency warns about falling debris from Chinese rocket

By NICK GARCIA Published Sep 14, 2022 2:03 pm

The debris of a rocket from China is expected to fall within Philippine territory, the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) warned on Sept. 13.

In a statement, PhilSA said the debris from Long March 7A (CZ-7A) may fall approximately 71 kilometers from Burgos in Ilocos Norte, and 52 kilometers from Sta. Ana in Cagayan. The rocket was launched from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan Island on Sept. 13 at 9:19 PM, local time.

PhilSA noted that in July, the core stage debris of another rocket, Long March 5B, landed on Philippine waters "in uncontrolled reentry." In the case of Long March 7A, the agency said the possibility of a similar uncontrolled reentry cannot be ruled out at this time.

"PhilSA submitted this information as well as other actionable details in a report issued to all relevant government agencies before the launch," it said.

While debris from CZ-7A is "unlikely to fall" on land or inhabited areas, PhilSA warned that falling debris still poses a "considerable threat" to ships, aircraft, fishing boats, and other vessels that will pass through the drop zones.

The agency advised the public to immediately inform local authorities if suspected floating debris is sighted at sea.

"PhilSA also cautions everyone against retrieving or coming in close contact with these materials," it added.