Parts of China's Long March Rocket Crashed in Indian Town? Space Organisation ISRO Starts Probe

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has begun investigating a large metal ring and a cylinder-like object that crashed in a rural western town of India on 2 April. The Initial examinations of the objects suggest that these could be parts of a Chinese space rocket's upper stage as the timing of the crash was the 'closest match' for the debris to re-enter the atmosphere.

An onsite inspection was carried out by two scientists from ISRO on 15 April as they temporarily dubbed the objects to be the parts of China's Long March rocket family. Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, tweeted two days after the crash that the ring was a perfect fit with a piece of the Chinese Long March 3B rocket. Further adding he explained that the aforementioned objects could be parts of the third stage of Long March 3B serial number Y77, launched in February 2021.

Metal ring / Rocket part
The large metal ring that crashed in the rural western town of India on April 2 Twitter

The cylinder-like object is measured to be about a half meter in diameter and the metal ring weighs more than 40 kilograms and is roughly two to three meters in diameter, as reported by the Space News.

On 5 April the Indian Space Agency released a statement confirming the crash of "a metal ring and a cylinder-like object," informing that an official investigation will follow. China has chosen to be silent on the crash.

Suresh Chopne, an NGO activist who had observed the investigation, told the local English newspaper Hindustan Times, "they [two ISRO scientists] took photographs and videos of the objects and interacted with the Ladbori village people about the objects."

"As per their discussions, these objects are believed to be space debris from a Chinese Long March rocket. What type of fuel was there in the cylinders can be said only after it is checked by the laboratory," He adds later.

China Long March Rocket
The Chinese Long March Rocket family Wikimedia Commons

A villager told The Times of India, "we were preparing a community feast, when the sky blazed with the red disc, which fell with a bang on an open plot in the village. People ran to their home fearing (an) explosion and remained inside for nearly half an hour."

This is not the first time a space agency has confirmed the crash of remnants from a Chinese rocket and the country has chosen silence as an answer.

In May 2021, NASA had criticized China for, "failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris," when fragments from 'the roughly 30-meter-long, five-meter-wide core stage of China's Long March 5B rocket crashed into the Indian Ocean after days of speculation and China's silence about where the debris would land', according to Space News.