The USNI News has learned that the second stage of a Chinese rocket that launched three military surveillance satellites in June disintegrated over Texas on Wednesday.
Two defense officials have confirmed to USNI News that the four-ton component of a Chang Zheng 2D ‘Long March’ rocket disintegrated on Wednesday over Texas, while hurtling through the atmosphere at a speed of 17,000 miles per hour.
As of now, the U.S. military officials have not been able to locate any debris from the rocket stage. However, according to USNI News, it is believed that the debris field could be several hundred miles long and several miles wide.
Based on satellite tracking data from North American Aerospace Defense Command, the rocket stage was identified as space debris in a low Earth orbit before it unexpectedly re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere.
Despite a request for information from USNI News on Thursday, a Pentagon spokesman did not respond to questions. The Department of Defense also did not issue any statement prior to the rocket’s entrance into the atmosphere.
Astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics informed USNI News on Thursday that the stage, according to NORAD tracking data, was part of a mission that delivered three military electronic signal surveillance satellites. These satellites were intended to collect signal data from the South China Sea.
Written by staff