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The US has no plans to shoot down the Chinese rocket due to crash down this weekend, defense secretary says

The Long March 5B rocket took off from China on April 29, and a big chunk is now heading toward Earth uncontrolled.
Long March-5B Y2 rocket
China's Long March 5B Y2 rocket taking off from Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan, China.
China Daily via REUTERS
  • A Chinese rocket is hurtling toward Earth and is expected to crash this weekend.
  • It's falling back to Earth uncontrolled. Where and when it will land is not clear.=
  • US Defense Sec. Austin said the military doesn't plan to shoot down any remains.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The US has no plans to shoot down the remains of a Chinese rocket that's expected to enter the atmosphere uncontrolled this weekend, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said.

Austin told reporters: "We have the capability to do a lot of things, but we don't have a plan to shoot it down as we speak," The Guardian reported.

"We're hopeful that it will land in a place where it won't harm anyone. Hopefully in the ocean, or someplace like that," he added, according to The Guardian.

He said that the rocket is expected to come down between Saturday and Sunday. Exactly when and where it's going to land isn't clear. 

US Space Command, a branch of the US military, said it is tracking the fragments.

The Long March 5B rocket took off from China on April 29, and a big chunk is now heading back towards earth in an uncontrolled reentry.

The rocket's exact trajectory is not clear, as Insider's Marianne Guenot reported. The debris could fall as far north as New York or Beijing, and as far south as Wellington, New Zealand.

China said that most of it will be burned in the atmosphere and is not likely to cause any harm on Earth.

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