Astrophysicists predict falling debris from Chinese rocket

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Astrophysicists predict falling debris from Chinese rocket

Many rockets release debris on earth right after launch. Until recently, researchers claimed that a Chinese launcher responsible for transporting into space a laboratory module will fail on earth. However, according to the various estimates of scientists, the collision of the debris with the earth would have a high chance of occurring. without causing damage in areas inhabited by men.

A ball of fire after the explosion of a rocket

The Named Launcher Long March 5B comprises several distinct modules whose total weight is around 23 tons. During its fall, astrophysicists estimate that a good part of the debris will succeed in penetrating the Earth’s atmosphere without disintegrating to finally to hit the ocean or the expanse of a desert.

Separately, the rocket’s main module was originally scheduled to reach the new Tiangon space station. Ted Muelhaupt, consultant in the office of the chief engineer of The Aerospace Corporation, participated in debris observation studies.

The collision with the earth will not be cataclysmic

According to Center for Orbital Reentry and Debris Studies of the Aerospace Corporation, a significant part of the rocket, which weighs about 5.5 to 9.9 tons, will fail on Earth. However, according to scientists’ approximations, the debris would have 99.5% chance to land either in the oceans or in sparsely populated areas.

Furthermore, when the surviving fragments of long March 5B will hit the ground or water, they will move at high speeds with a large amount of energy. Nevertheless, the damage caused will not be cataclysmic.

Finally, according to other experts, the worst-case scenario produced by this collision would be less severe than a single missile strike such as those launched during the war in ukraine.

“Personally, if it fell on my head, I would run outside with a camera to watch it, because I think it would be more of a visual opportunity than an actual risk. »

Ted Muelhaupt, Consultant in the Office of the Chief Engineer of The Aerospace Corporation

Predicting the exact location of the fall is impossible

Prediction of the trajectory of space debris is possible when any object passes over a network of sensors distributed throughout the world. And yet, anticipating the exact moment and place of the fall of the debris from Long March 5B is infeasible.

In reality, many factors such as variations in atmospheric density are involved and make it difficult to predict. Also, the rocket core does not have a regular path to be predictable through sensors.


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