There is a Chinese rocket that is about to return to Earth and we do not know where it will fall

There is a Chinese rocket that is about to return to Earth and we do not know where it will fall

The stage of the Chinese Long March 5B rocket is re-entering the Earth's atmosphere uncontrollably. And it is not yet clear where and when its fragments will fall on our planet

(photo: CGTN) After leaving Wenchang, in the Chinese province of Hainan, on April 29 last and having brought the first module of the station into orbit Chinese space, which is expected to be completed in late 2022, the central stage of the Long March 5B rocket is returning to Earth. However, his return, which should be around 10 May with an uncertainty of a couple of days, is taking place in an uncontrolled way and the place of his landing, therefore, is still unknown. According to experts, its fragments will likely fall into the oceans, which cover about 70% of the earth's surface. It should also be noted that most of the debris tends to burn in the atmosphere and only some fragments can reach our planet.

“The last time they launched a Long March 5B rocket they found themselves with large debris flying in the sky and damaged several buildings in Côte d'Ivoire,” Jonathan McDowell, astrophysicist of the 'Harvard University Astrophysics Center. Recall, in fact, that not the first time that a module of the Long March 5B rocket crashes out of control. As we told you, last year (exactly 11 May 2020), the fragments of the central stage of the Chinese Long March 5B rocket fell into the Atlantic Ocean, on the west coast of Africa. Even in that case, the return took place in an uncontrolled way, keeping Italy with bated breath, which with the Croce del Nord radio telescope, and the collaboration of INAF of Bologna, the Italian Space Agency, the Air Force, the Politecnico di Milano, the Isti-Cnr of Pisa, the aerospace company Vitrociset and the University of Malta, managed to monitor the trajectory of Long March 5B and collect data that helped calculate the return time window.

Currently, the Chinese rocket stage, as SpaceNews recounts, orbits the Earth every 90 minutes at an extremely high speed that even a small change could change the impact site even thousands of kilometers away. Based on its current orbit, similar to that of last year, the reentry should take place "in the band between 41.5 degrees in the North and 41.5 degrees in the South, and which also includes central and southern Italy", he said. explained to Ansa Luciano Anselmo, of the Institute of Information Science and Technologies of the National Research Council (Isti-Cnr) of Pisa, underlining however that the orbit could undergo variations and it is therefore early to draw conclusions. br>
Unlike the basic version (Long March 5), the 5B version has the task of bringing massive loads into low orbit. “Basically, all the rocket's propellant is used to bring an exceptional load to its destination, after which it is no longer possible to control its return”, continues Anselmo. Since 1990, the Guardian recalls, space launches require that no object over 10 tons is voluntarily launched into orbit to then re-enter in an uncontrolled way (the Long March 5B stage is around 2o tons). “The unfortunate thing is that it's really negligent on China's part,” McDowell concluded. "We do not drop objects of more than ten tons intentionally from the sky".

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