Fact Check: SpaceX disaster falsely forwarded as debris of Chinese rocket

The video showed the debris of the Chinese rocket Long March-5b. After days of speculation over where the debris would land from space, parts of a Chinese Long March-5b rocket

By Satya Priya BN  Published on  10 May 2021 1:00 PM GMT
debris of the Chinese rocket

Hyderabad: After days of speculation over where the debris would land from space, parts of a Chinese Long March-5b rocket, that was launched on 29 April, 2021, fell into the Indian Ocean near the Maldives late night on 8 May.

Ever since the incident, a video has come into circulation that claimed to show the fall of debris into the Indian Ocean. A narrative in Telugu in the video stated, "చైనా కు సంబంధించిన శకలం అంతరిక్షం నుండి సముద్రంలో పడిన దృశ్యం.." which upon translation meant 'a fragment of Chinese satellite falls into the sea from space'.

Fact check:

The claim that the video showed the debris of the Chinese rocket Long March-5b is FALSE.

When extracted keyframes from the video were searched using Google Reverse image search, NewsMeter found a video shot on 4 February, 2021 and has been shared with the title 'SpaceX starship crash'.

The same visuals have been shared in some articles with the title 'WATCH: Elon Musk's SpaceX prototype Mars rocket crashes during test flight. These articles stated that 'A prototype of SpaceX's Mars the rocket had a failed landing attempt on February 2, 2021, causing the rockets to explode into a massive fireball during a landing attempt minutes it was launched.'

History repeated itself as this was the second SpaceX's Mars rocket to crash after being launched from Boca Chica, Texas.

The Starship SN9 rocket was a test model of the heavy-lift rocket that was being developed by Elon Musk's private space company with the intention to carry humans and 100 tonnes of cargo in future missions to the moon and Mars.


Starship prototype Serial Number 11, or SN11, reached its target altitude of about 10 kilometers (about 32,800 feet). The rocket is built of stainless steel, representing the early versions unveiled in 2019. Elon Musk's company is developing Starship with the goal of launching cargo and people on missions to the moon and Mars.


Here are reports with videos that show the crash of a starship in Boca Chica, Texas, from another angle.



The crash of debris from Chinese rocket Long March 5B can be seen in these reports.



The China Manned Space Agency (CSMA) said on Sunday "The vast majority of the device burned up during the re-entry and the rest of the debris fell into a sea with the center at 2.65 degrees north latitude and 72.47 degrees east longitude," placing it west of the Maldives in the Indian Ocean.

The Maldives National Defence Force said on Sunday its Coastguard Squadron "is active after receiving reports of rocket debris fallen in Maldivian waters".

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson in a statement called on "spacefaring nations" to "minimize the risks to people and property on Earth of re-entries of space objects and maximize transparency regarding those operations." "It is clear that China is failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris," he said.


Hence, the video is actually about the SpaceX starship launched in February 2021. So, the claim is FALSE.

Claim Review:The video of debris of the Chinese rocket Long March-5b
Claimed By:Social Media Users
Claim Reviewed By:Newsmeter
Claim Source:Social Media
Claim Fact Check:False
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