The stage of the recently launched Chinese rocket could fall back to Earth around July 31

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The stage of the recently launched Chinese rocket could fall back to Earth around July 31

One more time, a Chinese rocket stage will fall back to Earth in an uncontrolled manner. This is the main floor of the Long March 5B launcher who sent the second module of the Chinese space station Tiangong in the space. Liftoff took place on July 24, and now the 25-tonne object is about to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere.

According to researchers from CORDS or Aerospace Corporation’s Center for Orbital Reentry and Debris Studies, the piece of rocket should still remain in orbit for about a week. By analyzing the data provided by the US Space Force Space Surveillance Networkthey were able to predict that the rocket stage would re-enter the atmosphere next July 31, at around 07:30 GMTwith an error of plus or minus 22 hours.

Long March 5B launch
CGTN Credits

Details regarding the moment of the object’s re-entry into the atmosphere should still be obtained over the next few days. As for where the floor will fall, the CORDS researchers say it’s still too early to know. However, they think it will be between 41 degrees north latitude and 41 degrees south latitude. The object will not be completely disintegrated during reentry either.

An unmastered technology

In general, the main stage of orbital rockets is designed to be able to descend to Earth directly after liftoff. This allows them to be directed towards the ocean or into uninhabited areas. Other rockets like the Falcon 9 and SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy can also land their first stage after launch. But regarding the Long March 5B, its main stage goes into space with its payload. When the latter is released, the stage remains in orbit, but ends up being slowed down by the atmosphere and falls in an uncontrolled way.

This is not the first time that a Long March 5B rocket has risked crashing on Earth. The July 24 mission was the third flight of this model of launch vehicle. It had made its first flight on May 5, 2020, and a week later a piece fell uncontrollably in West Africa. Some debris reportedly fell in Côte d’Ivoire. The second Long March 5B rocket re-entered the atmosphere over the Indian Ocean in May 2021 after launching the Tianhe module from the Tiangong space station.

China and its space debris

So far, these threats from the Long March 5B rocket have not caused any injuries. However, the risk of injury and property damage has prompted space exploration experts to berate China over its method of allowing space debris to fall.

NASA reacted to the threat posed by the Long March 5B rocket that carried Tianhe last year. Bill Nelson, the agency’s administrator, had said that countries operating in space must minimize risks to property and people on Earth. They must also maximize the transparency of atmospheric re-entry operations.

Nelson had added that China failed to meet liability standards for its space debris. For him, it is critical that China and all countries that exploit space, as well as commercial entities, act responsibly and transparently to ensure the safety, stability, security, and long-term viability of activities. spatial.


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