Parts off a Chinese rocket fall to earth

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Parts from a Chinese rocket have plummeted back to Earth, landing in the Indian Ocean near the Maldives.

The parts weighed 18 tonnes which is the weight of three African bush elephants. It is one of the biggest items in years to fall back into the atmosphere without control.

The rocket re-entered the atmosphere at 3:24pm New Zealand time and at one stage it was thought the parts could land close to New Zealand.

However, space experts had predicted that the chances of anyone actually being hit by a piece of space junk were very small as so much of the Earth’s surface is covered by ocean.

The part that fell to the ground was part of a rocket, known as the Long March-5b, was used to launch the first section of China’s new space station last month.

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