China’s rocket debris could fall on Earth in coming days


  • An advisory was released by experts, warning that a big chunk of rocket debris could crash down in New York City or another metropolitan area within this week.
  • The large debris would come from Chinese space rocket ‘Long March 5B,’ which was launched last week.
  • The Long March 5B is China’s first of 11 missions to build their own permanent space station.

Scientists released a warning that an enormous piece of Chinese space rocket’s debris could fall in New York City or another metropolitan location in the coming days.

According to Space News, the Long March 5B ━ one of China’s biggest rockets weighing over 21 tons ━ was launched to build their own space station.

The remaining part of the rocket was supposed to fall off into the sea, but it is now orbiting the world after the main craft went to space.

Per the outlet, possible areas where debris could crash down include Beijing, Madrid and New York in the Northern Hemisphere, then Southern Chile and Wellington in New Zealand in the Southern Hemisphere.

Since the portion of the rocket continues to orbit the Earth every one and half hours, the precise landing location cannot be forecasted. But the most possible prediction is that it could fall into the ocean or land.

Based on astronomer Jonathan McDowell’s analysis, the large objects of the rocket could likely be annihilated when met with intense heat coming down to Earth. Small pieces, though, could still reach the ground.

“I think by current standards it’s unacceptable to let it re-enter uncontrolled,” he told the outlet, adding that “since 1990, nothing over 10 tons has been deliberately left in orbit to re-enter uncontrolled.”

The Long March 5B stage, though, is remarkably bigger versus SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. Some of its debris had fallen during a reentry in one area at Washington state.

“The Long March 5B core stage is seven times more massive than the Falcon 9 second stage that caused a lot of press attention a few weeks ago when it reentered above Seattle and dumped a couple of pressure tanks on Washington state,”  McDowell told the outlet.

Chinese broadcaster CCTV reported that last week, space officials launched the Long March 5B rocket, carrying China’s first-ever perpetual space station. The spacecraft took off at the Wenchang Space Launch Center located in the southern part of Hainan province.

The launching marked the first of 11 missions to establish the station, which is set to be finished by next year.

Source: New York Post

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