China’s Out-Of-Control Rocket Might Crash On Earth Within A Week

It's unlikely to hit anybody.

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China's Out-Of-Control Rocket Finally Falls Into Indian Ocean
Image: Unsplash

On Sunday, a second sizeable Chinese rocket was launched into orbit. And like before, no one is certain of the location or time of its return. It is a repetition of two prior launches of the same rocket. Although China is yet to determine the location of the rocket, its rocket is likely to crash on the earth’s surface.

The Long March 5B rocket is one of the biggest currently in service. However, the 10-story, 23-ton rocket booster can be tracked by falling space debris for roughly a week after launch as wisps of air friction gradually draw it back down.

Will the rocket from China crash and hit anybody on Earth?

China's Out-Of-Control Rocket Might Crash On Earth Within A Week
Image: Unsplash

On Sunday, China’s space agency successfully launched a Long March 5B rocket, bringing a new module to its nascent space station. But, like earlier flights, the rocket’s core stage stayed in orbit and is currently expected to make an uncontrolled return.

On Sunday, June 24, at 2:22 PM Beijing Time, the Long March 5B launched from the Wenchang Space Launch Center on the Chinese island of Hainan. According to the state-run China Daily, the 22-ton Wentian laboratory was loaded atop the rocket and arrived at China’s Tiangong space station 13 hours later.

Chen Dong, Liu Yang, and Cai Xuzh became the first astronauts in Chinese space history to participate in orbital docking as they awaited the 59-foot-long (18-meter) module. It is unlikely it will hit anyone on Earth, but the chances are much more than many space specialists consider tolerable.

The powerful rocket was created especially to deploy components on China’s Tiangong space station. Wentian, a laboratory module that will increase the station’s capacity for scientific study, was lifted during the most recent mission.

Additionally, it will increase the number of sleeping quarters for astronauts by three and the airlock available for spacewalks by one. State media broadcasts emphasize the significance of the space station’s completion and operation to China’s national reputation. However, prior rocket flights have caused some reputational damage to the nation.

Additionally, we are left to speculate as to when and where the 21-ton core stage will re-enter the atmosphere and crash. As per Gizmodo, this is the norm with Long March 5B launches because the last two missions had chaotic reentries.

Rocket stages are brought down with reignited engines, just like during controlled reentries, enabling launch providers to direct the rocket body away from populated regions. What do you think will happen? Comment down below.

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