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The Long March-5B Y2 rocket, carrying the Tianhe module, blasts off from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in south China's Hainan Province, April 29. Photo: Zhang Liyun/Xinhua via Getty Images

Remnants of the Long March-5B Y2 rocket re-entered Earth's atmosphere over the Indian Ocean near the Maldives, officials in China announced Sunday morning Beijing time.

Details: Most of the rocket's debris burned up during the uncontrolled re-entry, the China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO) said in a social media post. NASA administrator Bill Nelson accused China's government in a statement Saturday of "failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris."

"Spacefaring nations must minimize the risks to people and property on Earth of re-entries of space objects and maximize transparency regarding those operations."
— Nelson
  • Parts of the rocket's 100-foot core re-entered the atmosphere at 10.24a.m. Sunday Beijing time (10.24p.m. Saturday ET), landing at 72.47 degrees east longitude and 2.65 degrees north latitude, the CMSEO said.

For the record: The Pentagon said this week it was tracking the descent of the rocket that carried a Chinese Space Station module to orbit last month, but experts couldn't predict where it would land.

Between the lines: Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., tweeted: "An ocean reentry was always statistically the most likely.

  • "It appears China won its gamble (unless we get news of debris in the Maldives). But it was still reckless."

Of note: Axios' Miriam Kramer notes that China’s Tiangong-1 space station returned to Earth in an uncontrolled descent in 2018, burning up above the Pacific Ocean.

What to watch: We could see more uncontrolled rocket re-entries in the future as China launches further missions to its new space station, per the New York Times.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

May 8, 2021 - World

Debris from Chinese rocket likely to fall to Earth this weekend

A Long March 5B rocket, carrying China's Tianhe space station core module, on April 29. Photo: STR/AFP via Getty Images

A massive booster rocket from a Chinese Long March 5B launch vehicle is expected to fall back to Earth in an "uncontrolled reentry" this weekend, though experts don't really know where debris from the rocket will land.

The state of play: China's space agency has said it expects most of the rocket to burn up in Earth's atmosphere. The chance of debris from the rocket actually landing in a populated area is low — but there is still a chance.

Why human resources job postings are spiking

Expand chart
Data: Indeed; Chart: Axios Visuals

Human resources job postings are up 52.5% from their pre-pandemic baseline. That's far outpacing the average job posting bump of 30.5%, according to data from the jobs site Indeed.

What's happening: Companies are beefing up their HR departments to navigate the return to work.

The future of weddings is hybrid

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The post-pandemic obsession with hybrid events and classrooms and offices is coming to weddings too.

Why it matters: The average wedding in the U.S. costs about $30,000, and the biggest cost comes down to headcount. The pandemic ushered in a new way of celebrating the big day, with the nearest and dearest in attendance and the rest on Zoom — and that model will outlast the pandemic itself.