A part of a big Russian Angara A5 rocket, which was launched for a test mission from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome on Dec. 27 but became shortly out of control and failed to enter Earth’s orbit as planned, fell to a watery resting place over the Pacific Ocean on Wednesday, near French Polynesia. “Reentries for a object with dry mass of about 4 tonnes may see some debris reach the ground, but not much,” leading orbit watcher and astronomer Jonathan McDowell said before. Uncontrolled reentries do happen from time to time but rarely resulted in much damage or casualties. On average, 100-200 tons of space junk re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere in an uncontrolled manner every year.The Persei booster was quite a large piece of space debris. At liftoff, it weighed about 21.5 tons (19.5 metric tons) here on Earth, but most of that was propellant. Most of the rocket body almost certainly burned up in Earth’s atmosphere.
At the time of its final decent, the European Space Agency (ESA) estimated that the Persei rocket was traveling at 16,920 mph. If a rocket creates damage in another country, there are international treaties in place that would make the launching country potentially liable for damages. The Dec. 27 launch was the third test flight for the Angara A5, development of which has been plagued by a series of delays. Russian Roscosmos agency offered no comment on the Persei rocket and the failure for it to fire. The Russian military has still offered no comment on this rocket.