The second stage of a Chinese rocket that delivered a trio of military surveillance satellites in June disintegrated over Texas on Wednesday, USNI News has learned.
The four-ton component of a Chang Zheng 2D ‘Long March’ rocket punched through the atmosphere on Wednesday over Texas at 17,000 miles per hour and disintegrated, two defense officials confirmed to USNI News on Thursday.
Military officials have yet to find any debris from the rocket stage, however USNI News understands the debris field could be miles wide and several hundred miles long.
According to NORAD satellite tracking data, the stage was a piece of space junk in low earth orbit before it made its unscheduled descent.
“U.S. Space Command can confirm the People’s Republic of China CZ-2D Rocket Body, SCC# 52910, reentered the Earth’s atmosphere over the southern region of North America at approximately 8:30 pm [Mountain Time] on March 7, 2023,” reads a statement from SPACECOM following an earlier version of this post.
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“This was an uncontrolled reentry, meaning it was not steered but rather its orbit decayed and lowered naturally. This type of behavior reinforces the need for better international norms regarding high-risk uncontrolled reentries.”
The debris field is over the least populated counties in the state, according to the Texas Demographic Center.
If you’re curious to delve deeper into the topic, read more about it here.