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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

China's homegrown techlash

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

With the Chinese government accelerating moves against its own tech industry, China is — for now — prioritizing Communist Party control of the domestic economy over aggressive international competition.

Why it matters: China and the U.S. are both playing a long game, with tech as the playing field, companies as the pieces and domination of the global economy as the stakes.

40 mins ago - World

Australia joins U.S. in diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Australia is joining the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games in protest of human rights abuses committed by China's government, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Wednesday.

Driving the news: After the Biden administration's announcement that U.S. officials won't attend the Games due to the ongoing genocide of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region of China, Morrison said at a Sydney briefing that Australia would follow suit as "it's the right thing to do."

Progressives to file resolution to strip Boebert's committee seats

Rep. Lauren Boebert walking through the Senate side of the U.S. Capitol earlier this month. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House progressives are planning to introduce a resolution on Wednesday to strip Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) of her committee assignments, according to a Democratic aide familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The move, which was first reported by the Washington Post, comes as progressives — anxious to see the right-wing firebrand face retribution for her recent comments — have grown frustrated by Democratic leadership's inaction on the issue.