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Philippines Space Agency warns flyers, fishing boats to avoid falling Chinese rockets

The red rocket menace is real: Beijing's already sprayed the region this year

The Philippines has closed some of its airspace and warned local seafarers not to ply their trade for fear of having bits of a Chinese rocket land on them.

The Philippines Space Agency (PSA) on Tuesday issued a warning ahead of China's launch of a Long March 7A rocket. The national news agency reported that the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines closed some airspace for four hours to avoid collisions with falling debris.

China did indeed launch on Tuesday. The Chinese National Space Administration reported the launch of a communications satellite, which went off without a hitch.

But past launches that appeared to be trouble-free for China produced problems in the Philippines.

"In July, the core stage debris of the Long March 5B rocket landed on Philippine waters in uncontrolled re-entry," the PSA's statement notes. That debris came from a Long March 5B rocket used to hoist aloft more bits for China's space station. The resulting rubbish also landed in Indonesia and Malaysia, The Register reported at the time.

Another Chinese launch, 2021's mission to bring other space station parts to orbit, also resulted in an "uncontrolled landing" and earned China a stern finger wagging from other nations who feel it's not really fair to drop space junk on unsuspecting people.

Philippines authorities have warned fisherfolk and other seafarers to avoid touching any floating or washed-up stuff they find in coming days that might be bits of a Long March rocket. Some were already deterred from going to sea by bad weather, meaning they missed the rocketing Red Menaces headed their way – if there were any. ®

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