Chinese rocket's uncontrolled return to Earth raising concerns
Debris from China's most powerful rocket is anticipated to crash land on Earth this weekend in an uncontrolled re-entry, BBC reported According to reports, the wreckage of the Long March rocket, which carried a new scientific module to China's under-construction space station, will flash through the atmosphere. However, the specialists are still unsure of its landing location and the impact of the crash.
Why does this story matter?
The warning came only one day after the remains of a Chinese cargo spaceship burnt up in the atmosphere. China has a horrible reputation for handling the debris of wrecked spacecraft and rockets. According to experts, in 2020, parts of another Chinese Long March 5B fell in a populous region on Ivory Coast, damaging many structures but causing no casualties.
What did the experts say?
Experts have expressed alarm over the rocket booster's uncontrolled drop since China's prior performance in managing rockets falling towards Earth has not been stellar, as per India Today. It said the rocket's complete main-core stage, weighing 22 tonnes, reached low orbit after the flight on Sunday and is anticipated to fall back toward Earth over the weekend due to atmospheric friction.
Some slight predictions about the day and area of impact
According to Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Center for Astrophysics, the re-entry might occur on Saturday. He did not, however, disclose the site of the re-entry. Meanwhile, according to Ted Muelhaupt, an aerospace specialist, the total risk to people and property on the ground is fairly low, given that the ocean, desert, or forest cover 75% of its potential path on Earth's surface.
Chunks of debris may rain over 2000 kilometers
Independent US-based analysts told Reuters that the rocket is large enough that numerous chunks will likely survive a fiery re-entry to rain debris over an area some 2,000 kilometers long and 70 kilometers wide. The re-entry is expected to happen on July 31 at 5:54 a.m., with a 16-hour error margin, said the Aerospace Corporation.
How did Chinese Foreign ministry respond?
Chinese foreign ministry said the likelihood of debris causing harm to aircraft or persons and property on the ground was extremely minimal. He claimed that most of the rocket's components would be destroyed at re-entry. In 2021, Beijing was heavily chastised for failing to arrange a proper deorbit of their Long March 5B rocket as its significant portion was in an uncontrolled re-entry phase.