The Philippine Coast Guard said Wednesday it has retrieved debris from a Chinese rocket launched last month, over which the United States has criticized Beijing for not sharing its trajectory information.
But the Philippine Space Agency said the debris is not part of the Long March 5B rocket's components that re-entered the atmosphere early Sunday. Rather, it was identified to be part of the payload fairing that detached from the rocket as it entered outer space during launch.
The debris, a torn metal sheet that bears the Chinese flag and some characters, was found floating by Filipino fishermen off the western Philippine island of Mindoro on Tuesday, the coast guard said. It measures about 3 meters long and 2 meters wide, weighing about 100 kilograms.
China launched the rocket on July 24, carrying a module to the country's space station under construction. The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration had criticized Beijing for not sharing information on its specific trajectory.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry has denied that debris from the rocket uncontrollably fell into the ocean, saying most of the wreckage burned up during the re-entry process and that there was no danger to aviation.