Chinese rocket debris to crash Earth this weekend as US looks on

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Published by Tapasya Iyer on 06 May 2021

An ‘out-of-control’ Chinese rocket Long March 5B is set to re-enter Earth this weekend probably on May 8, according to the CNN report. The rocket launched the core module of the country’s space station last week. The officials at the Pentagon say it is quite early to predict the location of the debris. 

“US Space Command is tracking the rocket’s trajectory,” said Defense Department spokesperson Mike Howard. The report also noted that there is no threat to life or safety. So, there is no reason to panic. 

Contradicting this, Hong-Kong based South China Morning posted, “The number of large fragments that would remain intact after re-entering the Earth is unpredictable but it may cause some damage.” 

Last year, the re-entry of debris from the first Long March 5B flight fell on Ivory Coast devastated several homes in the village. It was the largest craft to crash the Earth since 1979.

The rocket was used by China to launch some parts of its space station. The size of the rocket is 22 tonnes. The thing is currently travelling at around 18,000 miles an hour. 

“The debris can be expected to hit the Earth between 8th and 10th of May. In these two days span, it goes around the world 30 times. So, it is very difficult to pinpoint the fall location of the debris until a few hours before the crash.” said Mike Howard. 

The Global Times quoted aerospace expert Song Zhongping, “China’s own space monitoring network will keep a close watch on the debris areas and rocket’s flight course. It will take efforts to control the damage. As the Long March 5B uses environment-friendly fuel, it will not pollute the ocean.”

Though such rocket falls are unusual, China is expected to carry out more launches in its space station programme in the upcoming weeks to complete the construction of the space station project with a mass of about 100 tonnes by 2022.

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