The Chinese Long March 5B rocket is out of control and ready to return to Earth’s atmosphere starting this Saturday in a location that – until now – is unknown, according to the Pentagon.
Meanwhile, specialized organizations made hypotheses about the place of impact of the ship. In an effort by the Asian country to grow as a power in space matters, China launched the first spacecraft on Thursday last week from Wenchang, Hainan province, at the start of construction of a new station.
The last April 29, China launched the first module for its Tiangong space station which was successfully put into orbit. However, the rocket that took him there met the same fate: a large part of the Long March 5B spacecraft is now in failed orbit and could – according to expert estimates – make an uncontrolled re-entry back to Earth to land in a place. a stranger.
Astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell, from the Harvard University Astrophysical Center, told the American media CNN what to point out where the debris could go “is almost impossible at this point due to the speed at which the rocket travels”, even with slight changes in circumstances that drastically change the trajectory.
“We hope it will come back in sometime between May 8 and 10”McDowell said, detailing: “In that two-day period, goes around the world 30 times. The thing is traveling at about 29,000 kilometers per hour, so if you are within an hour of guessing when it will fall, you are 30,000 kilometers from saying where. “
In this context, the ocean remains the safest bet on where the debris will land, he said, just because it takes up most of the Earth’s surface..
A fall out of control
While most space debris burns in the atmosphere, This device is so large – it weighs more than 22 tons – that it generated concern among specialists. If it remains intact – the planet feels 70% water – there is a good chance that the rocket will fall into the sea, although it is not safe. It could crash into a populated area or into a ship.
Against this backdrop, the 30-meter-high core of Long March 5B prepares for one of the largest uncontrolled reentries in history. since it was not designed to be directed, so it does not have a trajectory to fall into the sea at a predetermined point.
This is not the first time that China has lost control of a spacecraft on its return to Earth. In April 2018, a Tiangong-1 space laboratory disintegrated upon re-entry into the atmosphere, two years after it ceased to function. Chinese authorities denied that the laboratory was out of control.
“Rocket debris is common, likely to land in international waters despite western publicity of China’s space threat”, titled the Chinese newspaper Global Times. The text points to an “exaggeration” from the United States and Europe in the face of fear of an advanced Asian technology.
“Despite the concerns of the US Department of Defense, industry experts believe that the situation is not worth panicking,” the Chinese press reported, citing Song Zhongping, an aerospace expert and television commentator.
Wang Ya’nan, editor-in-chief of the magazine Aerospace KnowledgeHe added that China’s space authorities carefully considered the development of rocket debris fall from the initial rocket design phase and the choice of launch site, to the rocket’s lift-off attitude and trajectory.
“It is an old trick used by hostile powers whenever they see technological advances in China, since they are nervous,” they highlighted in Global Times. China began an intensive construction phase of the country’s first space station project with the launch of the Tianhe central module cockpit.
The government set a tight schedule of 11 launches for the next two years, and it is estimated to be operational by 2022.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.