China hit back at NASA's chief for saying it failed to meet 'responsible standards' in letting a rocket fall uncontrolled back to Earth

China hit back at NASA's chief for saying it failed to meet 'responsible standards' in letting a rocket fall uncontrolled back to Earth
·2 min read
Long March-5B Y2 rocket
China's Long March 5B rocket taking off from the Wenchang launch center in China's Hainan province. China Daily via REUTERS
  • NASA's head said China failed to "meet responsible standards" in letting its rocket fall to Earth.

  • Chinese officials denied the statement and accused the media of double standards in reporting.

  • Debris fell in the Indian Ocean on Sunday. China said it acted properly and no one was harmed.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

China hit back at NASA's chief and US media for their reactions to the rocket that fell uncontrolled back to Earth over the weekend.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson criticized China on Saturday, saying countries that go to space needed to "minimize the risks to people and property on Earth of re-entries of space objects."

"It is clear that China is failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris," he said.

Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for China's foreign ministry, said on Monday that China had been closely monitoring the debris and that it had caused no damage.

"The US and a few other countries have been hyping up the landing of the Chinese rocket debris over the past days," she said.

She said that China had been sharing its data with other countries.

She also said that American media had a "double standard" in reporting on such debris.

"You may recall that in March this year, when a piece of a SpaceX rocket crashed on a farm in the country, American media used such romantic descriptions as 'lighting up the night sky like a meteor, producing a spectacular light show,'" she said. "But when it comes to China, the tune is completely different."

It was not clear where the quote Hua mentioned came from, but some news reports at the time did describe the SpaceX rocket's descent as a surprise meteor shower.

"I noticed some jesting online in China, saying that US politicians may be forgetful, but the Internet has a long memory," Hua said.

"We stand ready to strengthen cooperation with other countries including the US, but we reject double standard on this issue."

A big chunk of the Long March 5B rocket, which took off from China on April 29, made an uncontrolled reentry on Sunday. It hadn't been clear where it would land, prompting concern from scientists.

China said last week that most of the debris would burn up in the atmosphere and would not cause any harm.

Most of that chunk did burn up as it reentered the atmosphere. Some debris landed in the Indian Ocean.

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