Remnants of Chinese rocket third stage re-entered Earth and burned up in skies over India

A blazing streak of light was seen in the night sky over several parts of Maharashtra on Saturday. The streak, which appeared like a meteor shower, was actually the remnants of a Chinese rocket re-entering Earth’s atmosphere, according to a US scientist.

Chinese Chang Zheng 5B rocket, which was launched in February 2021, re-entered Earth’s atmosphere on Saturday and burned up in the skies over India. Most debris from the rocket will be burned up on re-entry and is highly unlikely to cause any harm.

US astronomer Jonathan McDowell said that the re-entry of the 3B rocket body was expected today.

"I believe this is the re-entry of a Chinese rocket stage, the third stage of the Chang Zheng 3B serial number Y77 which was launched in Feb 2021 - it was expected to re-enter in the next hour or so and the track is a good match," McDowell, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts said in a tweet.

The Long March 5 family of rockets have been integral to China’s near-term space ambitions from the delivery of modules and crew of its planned space station to launches of exploratory probes to the moon and even Mars.