Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has said the United States has no plan to shoot down a Chinese rocket booster that is expected to hit the Earth in the next few days.
“We are hopeful that it will land in a place where it won’t harm anyone, hopefully in the ocean or someplace like that,” Austin said, according to a tweet from reporter Joyce Karam.
The rocket booster weighs about 22 tons and is falling at a speed of over 17,000 miles per hour. It was used to launch a module for China’s Tianhe space station. (RELATED: Asteroid Roughly The Size Of An F-150 Truck Reportedly Came Within 300 Miles Of Earth)
JUST IN: US Def. Sec Austin says there is No Plan in place to shoot #China‘s Rocket down s it hurtles back to earth.
“Hopefully it will crash in the ocean.”
— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) May 6, 2021
At least one of China’s past launches have been criticized for the failure to take steps to safely deorbit the boosters.
“Last time they launched a Long March 5B rocket they ended up with big long rods of metal flying through the sky and damaging several buildings in the Ivory Coast,” Harvard astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell told the Guardian.
In 2008, the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) shot down a failing satellite in Operation Burnt Frost, according to Heritage.