Chinese Space Junk Fell in Maharashtra, ISRO Officials

Last Saturday night, citizen in certain parts of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Telangana border witnessed lightshow in the sky, believing it to be a Meteor shower while astronomers believed its may be satellite debris from space.

Experts says that it is most likely to be a Chinese rocket body debris. Indian space agency ISRO's officials said that as per alerts from the U.S.-based USSPACECOM, there were four space debris objects expected to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere on Saturday - 1) The CZ-3B R/B (Chinese rocket body from Long March launch vehicle); 2nd is from SpaceX's Starlink 1831 and the remaining two were small objects from the debris of Kosmos-Iridium satellites collision, a collision accident that happened in 2009.

According to a Times of India report, a senior ISRO official explained about this incident, saying - The CZ-3B was originally predicted to have a re-entry time of 4.37pm IST and impact location close to Myanmar. However, in its post event prediction, USSPACECOM put the re-entry time as 7.42pm IST with impact location as Arabian Sea. With the latest orbital information from USSPACECOM, the closest match to the observed re-entry over India has to be from Chinese CZ-3B, which was launched on February 4 last year.

Even a minor error in latitude-longitude analysis could mean a difference of tens of kilometers and “given the time (post 7.40pm IST) of spotting of the object and its landing, it is most likely to be the Long March", ISRO official further said.

When rocket bodies survive atmospheric re-entry, the rocket parts such as nozzles, rings and tanks can impact on Earth.

Such incidents deliberately /or accidently happens because Indian space agency relies on America's USSPACECOM to get alerts on space junks/objects entering India's atmosphere. ISRO therefore has recently exoressed concern over this dependency and showing a determination to be self-reliant. ISRO recently announced that it will establish Space Surveillance and Tracking network with RADARS and Optical Telescopes under the project Network for Space Objects Tracking and Analysis (NETRA).

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