Another huge body of a Chinese rocket is crashing towards Earth and no one knows where it will crash

Another Chinese rocket body is tumbling uncontrolled towards Earth in a “position yet to be determined” in the coming days, experts warn.

After the launch of the final module of the Chinese Tiangong space station on a Long March 5B heavy transport rocket, the Chinese space agency did not perform a control deorbit of the launch vehicle’s central stage.

Experts, including Ted Muelhaupt, a consultant with The Aerospace Corporation, say this means that the rocket’s body weighing more than 20 tons will crash into Earth in the next few days at a location that has not yet been determined.

“For those who have followed previous versions of this: here we go again,” Mr. Muelhaupt said at a press conference on Wednesday, reported.

This isn’t the first time a Chinese rocket has crashed to Earth after launch.

There have been three other cases in the recent past where the country’s rocket crashed uncontrollably on Earth, posing a potential risk of loss of life and property.

In July, an out-of-control central stage of a Chinese Long March rocket caught fire in the Indian Ocean, prompting criticism from NASA.

After delivering a new module to the space station, this rocket also fell out of control and landed in the Indian Ocean near Malaysia.

NASA administrator Bill Nelson criticized China for failing to provide better data on the rocket’s expected re-entry path.

“The People’s Republic of China did not share specific trajectory information since their Long March 5B rocket crashed to Earth,” he tweeted.

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

Another Chinese Long March rocket, launched in April last year, also fell out of control upon re-entry and landed in the Indian Ocean, prompting criticism from NASA.

“It is clear that China is not meeting responsible standards regarding their space debris,” Mr. Nelson said at the time.

China said the risk of damage to aviation or ground structures resulting from the reentry of such rocket bodies is “extremely low”.

“It looks like China has won its bet. But it was reckless nonetheless, ”astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell tweeted after the April accident.

Experts, including Dr. McDowell, have said that the safe landing of rocket debris in the oceans is not always guaranteed.

For example, debris from a Long March 5B rocket, launched in May 2020, hit Cote d’Ivoire on its way back and damaged several buildings.

According to The Aerospace Corporation, the rocket’s body from the latest launch is expected to crash into Earth in the next few days, likely early Saturday.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *