The Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) has closely monitored the launch of the Long March 5B (CZ-5B) rocket and the re-entry of its debris. Prior to the launch on 24 July, PhilSA proactively issued an advisory to all relevant government agencies about the launch and the estimated dropzone locations of the rocket debris. Teams have been mobilized and prepared to implement coordination protocols with other national government agencies for the issuance of actionable information as necessary, during the debris re-entry on 31 July.
Verified reports from concerned space agencies have identified the falling rocket components to have re-entered the atmosphere from outer space at around 12:45 AM PhST over the Indian Ocean and subsequently have made landfall at 12:55 AM PhST over the Sulu Sea near Palawan (9.1° North Latitude, 119.0° East Longitude). Parts of the rocket have also been detected over the Malaysian airspace moments before landfall.
It is expected that most of the rocket components have disintegrated during re-entry into the atmosphere. PhilSA advises the public to immediately inform local authorities if suspected floating debris is sighted at sea. PhilSA also cautions everyone against retrieving or coming in close contact with these materials.The Philippines believes that spacefaring nations must abide by the protocols and mechanisms enshrined in the UN Outer Space Treaty, encourage close coordination, and timely resolution of issues such as space debris mitigation. This will eliminate the potential damage, harm or injury, or even loss of life on Earth.
In line with this, last June 2022, PhilSA submitted to the Department of Foreign Affairs the instruments for ratification of two of the five United Nations treaties on outer space, specifically the Liability Convention and the Registration Convention. These conventions promote accountability among nations for objects launched to space. The DFA will process and prepare the treaty package for the consideration of the President. PhilSA’s current work on the ratification of the Liability Convention and the Registration Convention is a clear demonstration of the Philippine commitment to abide by the basic rules and norms of international law.