“We are monitoring the situation and have also advised the public to be vigilant, avoid contact with suspected floating debris and report immediately to local authorities,” Talampas told The Associated Press.
The China Manned Space Agency reported Sunday that most of the final stage of the Long March-5B rocket burned after entering the atmosphere. It said the booster was allowed to fall unguided.
The Chinese agency’s announcement did not provide details on whether the remaining debris fell on land or sea, but said the “landing area” was at 119 degrees east longitude and 9.1 degrees north latitude. That’s in the waters southeast of Palawan’s capital, Puerto Princesa.
The Philippine Space Agency has not received any reports from its Chinese counterpart about the rocket debris.
China has been criticized for dropping rocket stages uncontrollably to Earth twice before. NASA last year accused Beijing of “failing to meet responsible standards with regard to its space debris” after parts of a Chinese rocket landed in the Indian Ocean.
The country’s first space station, Tiangong-1, crashed into the Pacific Ocean in 2016 after Beijing confirmed it was losing control. An 18-ton rocket crashed uncontrollably in May 2020.
China was also criticized after it used a missile in 2007 to destroy one of its defunct weather satellites, creating a field of debris that other governments said could endanger other satellites.
The July 24 launch of the Long March-5B, China’s most powerful rocket, put the Wentian lab in orbit. It was attached to the main module of Tianhe, where three astronauts live.
The remains of a separate cargo spacecraft serving the station fell in a predetermined area of the South Pacific after most of it burned on return, the Chinese government previously announced.