No sighting in northern Philippines of Chinese rocket debris

Philippine officials have warned of possible danger to aircraft and ships from debris from a new Chinese rocket launch that might fall in northern Philippine waters, authorities said yesterday, adding no debris has been sighted so far.

The Philippine Space Agency said China’s Long March 7A rocket was launched Tuesday night from the Wenchang Space Launch Center on Hainan island. That prompted the agency to notify Philippine authorities of potential danger in two offshore areas where the debris could crash down.

The possible “drop zones” were 71 kilometers off Burgos town in Ilocos Norte province and 52 kilometers  from Santa Ana town in Cagayan province, the space agency said, citing information from a notice to pilots released by the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

Rocket parts that detach before reaching space should by design fall back offshore less than an hour after a rocket launch, Philippine Space Agency spokesperson Tricia Zafra said.

“So far, no sighting. We continue to seek out reports,” Zafra told The Associated Press. “Hopefully, no injuries or damage related to it.”

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines warned Wednesday in a notice to pilots about the possible danger posed by the debris in the two northern Philippine offshore areas.

“While debris from CZ-7A is unlikely to fall on land features or inhabited areas in the Philippine territory, falling debris still poses a considerable threat to ships, aircraft, fishing boats, and other vessels that will pass through the drop zones,” the Philippine Space Agency said in a statement Tuesday.

In July, the core stage debris of a Long March 5B rocket that was launched by China landed in Philippine waters in an uncontrolled reentry, the agency said. No damage or injuries were reported.


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