Giant 16-foot-long metal fragment found in Indonesia believed to be Chinese rocket debris

A giant piece of metal found outside an Indonesian village is believed to be part of ChinaThe out-of-control Long March 5B rocket that crashed into the atmosphere on Sunday.

Authorities found the charred fragment on Monday after residents of Pengadang reported hearing “a loud roar from the sky” around midnight local time. The area is now closed to the public lest the metal be radioactive.

The object is 16 feet long and seven feet wide, and appears to be lightweight as video shows a single man able to pick it up from the ground.

Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, told DailyMail.com: “It’s one of the domed ends of the propellant tanks. There’s no doubt in my mind that it’s part of the step of the Chinese rocket.

“Plus, he was found exactly on his way back to school, which adds credibility.”

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Residents of Pengadang reported hearing “a loud roar from the sky” around midnight local time. Officials then found a large piece of metal lying on the ground

The Long March 5B rocket was launched on July 24 to deliver the Wentian module to China’s Tiangong space station, which the country hopes to complete by the end of this year.

It is expected to have a mass of between 180,000 and 220,000 pounds, about a fifth of the mass of the International Space Station, which is 925,335 pounds.

Although the module was successfully delivered, the 25-tonne core stage had no defined return point and fell back to Earth.

Because the booster stage rotated around Earth’s orbit every 90 minutes, the exact point where it would dive from the sky was impossible to predict.

Pictured is a hole crashed into the side of the debris

A Harvard University astronomer told DailyMail.com that it was part of the propellant tank

A Harvard University astronomer told DailyMail.com that it was part of the propellant tank

The Long March 5B rocket launched on July 24 (pictured) to deliver the Wentian module to China's Tiangong space station

The Long March 5B rocket launched on July 24 (pictured) to deliver the Wentian module to China’s Tiangong space station

Luckily, most of the rocket burned up in the atmosphere, but up to 40% of them are believed to have survived the fall from space and reports are starting to surface around South Asia.

McDowell shared a tweet on Monday: ‘So CZ-5B [Long March 5B] summary: major debris falls in Kalimantan, Indonesia and [Sarawak]Malaysia (both in Borneo).

“No casualties or property damage were reported, but debris is near the villages and a few hundred meters in either direction could have been a different story.”

Officials say they have closed the clearing outside Pengadan where the piece of metal was found and are asking people to stay away in case radioactive substances lurk on the debris, Borneo Post reports

Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, told DailyMail.com that the debris was found exactly on the re-entry path, which adds credibility.

Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, told DailyMail.com that the debris was found exactly on the re-entry path, which adds credibility.

Reports also indicate that there were no injuries from the debris, which could have been quite the opposite if the rocket fragments had fallen on a heavily populated area. Initially, parts of Mexico, South America and the Philippines were under the potential reentry zone.

The uncertainty has prompted a statement by NASA Administrator Bill Nelson on Saturday, who criticized China for its blatant disregard for public safety.

“All space nations should follow established best practices and do their part to share this type of information in advance to enable reliable predictions of potential debris impact risk, especially for heavy vehicles, such as the Long March 5B, which carry a significant risk of loss of life and property,” Nelson shared in a press release.

“This is essential for the responsible use of space and for keeping people safe here on Earth.”

The metal is 16 feet long and seven feet wide, and appears to be lightweight as video shows a single man able to pick it up from the ground

There was also a small piece on the side that may have had a serial number on it.

The metal is 16 feet long and seven feet wide, and appears to be lightweight as video shows a single man able to pick it up from the ground

Although some parts survived the fall, most crashed into the Indian Ocean.  These remnants put on a stunning display in the night sky as they disintegrated over Malaysia (pictured)

Although some parts survived the fall, most crashed into the Indian Ocean. These remnants put on a stunning display in the night sky as they disintegrated over Malaysia (pictured)

U.S. Space Command confirmed that the debris reentered the atmosphere around 12:45 p.m. ET earlier Saturday, referring all questions about the precise location of debris reentry and dispersal to the Chinese government.

Although some parts survived the fall, most crashed into the Indian Ocean.

And those remnants put on a stunning display in the night sky as they disintegrated over Malaysia.

A video posted on July 30, shared by a Twitter user who initially thought it was a meteorite, shows the craft streaking across the sky before burning up in the atmosphere as it re-entered.

Many in the responses to the original poster speculated that it was the debris from the original rocket that met its natural end.