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China says most rocket debris burned up during reentry

The rocket had lifted off on April 29 with materials for China's space station.

HOUSTON — China’s space agency says a core segment of its biggest rocket has reentered Earth’s atmosphere in the Indian Ocean above the Maldives.  It said most of the debris burned up early Sunday. 

Harvard astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell tracked the tumbling rocket part. He tweeted that “An ocean reentry was always statistically the most likely. It appears China won its gamble… But it was still reckless.” 

Reporter Danya Bacchus reported for CBS News in the video above.

China’s official Xinhua News Agency said reentry occurred Sunday at 10:24 a.m. Beijing time. People in Jordan, Oman and Saudi Arabia posted footage on social media of the debris piercing the early dawn skies over the Middle East.


The 20-ton Long March 5B rocket blasted off April 29, carrying pieces of "Harmony of the Heavens," China’s planned space station. But something went wrong, and China lost control of it. 

It went into orbit before reentry Saturday night.