The U.S. federal government-funded space-centric R&D center said that the remains of China’s largest rocket launched last week are expected to fall from the atmosphere on Saturday, next Sunday or early Sunday.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Friday that most of the rocket’s debris will be burned during the return and it is extremely unlikely to cause any harm. Earlier, the US military said that NASA is tracking the so-called uncontrolled return. .

In a tweet published in the United States on Friday evening, the aerospace company stated that its Center for Orbital Reentry and Debris Research (CORDS)’s latest forecast for the re-entry of the Long March 5B rocket is at two GMT 0419 (US Standard Time). 9:49 am) on the other side.

CORDS’s latest “informed prediction” of the reentry position of the rocket was given near the North Island of New Zealand, but it pointed out that reentry is possible anywhere on the path covering a large area of ​​the earth.

The Long March 5B, composed of a core stage and four boosters, was launched from the unmanned Tianhe capsule on April 29 and took off from China’s Hainan Island. The capsule contains the residence that will become China’s permanent space station.

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From March 5, the rocket family has become an integral part of China’s recent space ambitions-from delivering the modules and crew of the planned space station to launching exploratory probes to the moon and even Mars.

The Long March launched last week was the second deployment of the 5B variant since its first flight in May last year.

Harvard astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell (Jonathan McDowell) previously told Reuters that fragments of the rocket may fall on land, perhaps in densely populated areas, as in May 2020. A Long March 5B fragment was dropped from Ivory Coast. Although there were no reports of injuries, several buildings were still damaged.

Fragments from Chinese rocket launches are not uncommon in China. In late April, the relevant department of Shiyan City in Hubei Province issued a notice to the people in the surrounding counties, preparing to evacuate, because some people are expected to land in the area.

The aerospace company said in a blog post: “The Long March 5B reentry is unusual because during the launch process, the first stage of the rocket reached orbital speed instead of the usual landing range.”

“The empty rocket is now in an elliptical orbit around the earth and is being dragged towards an uncontrolled reentry.”

Since last week, the air core phase has been decreasing in altitude, but due to unpredictable atmospheric variables, the speed of its orbital decay is still uncertain.

It is one of the largest space debris reentering the earth, weighing 18 tons.

The core stage of the first Long March 5B, which returned to Earth last year, weighed nearly 20 tons, second only to debris from the Columbia Space Shuttle in 2003, the Soviet Union’s Salyut 7 space station in 1991, and NASA’s Skylab in 1979.

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Thomson Reuters 2021 ©


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