The Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) has been closely monitoring the Long March 7A (CZ-7A) rocket confirmed to have launched at 9:19 PM Philippine Time on 13 September 2022 from the Wenchang Space Launch Center, Hainan Island.
In prior coordination with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), PhilSA was able to verify the estimated drop zones of the rocket debris from the Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) issued by the Civil Aviation Administration of China. Two drop zones within the Philippine territory have been identified based on the NOTAM: Drop zone 1 is approximately 71 kilometers from Burgos, Ilocos Norte, while drop zone 2 is approximately 52 kilometers away from Sta. Ana, Cagayan. PhilSA submitted this information as well as other actionable details in a report issued to all relevant government agencies before the launch.
While debris from CZ-7A is unlikely to fall on land features or inhabited areas in the Philippine territory, falling debris still poses a considerable threat to ships, aircraft, fishing boats, and other vessels that will pass through the drop zones.
In July, the core stage debris of the Long March 5B rocket landed on Philippine waters in uncontrolled reentry. In the case of Long March 7A, the possibility of a similar uncontrolled reentry of the rocket’s upper stages cannot be ruled out at this time.
PhilSA wishes to reiterate its earlier advice to 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.