The remnants of China’s largest rocket, launched last week, are expected to return to the atmosphere in the next few hours, according to the Tracking Center for Europe and the United States.
The 16-ton core of the Long March 5B rocket launched the first module from China’s new space center into Earth orbit on April 29, and now experts say it is difficult to say exactly when and when it will enter the difficult atmosphere.
China’s foreign ministry said on Friday that most of the wreckage would have been burned at the time of re-entry The chances of any damage are very high.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters: “The chances of damage at this site are very low.
The U.S. Space Command estimates that GMT will be re-entered at 2:11 a.m. Sunday, within an hour or so of the subtraction, when U.S.-funded space-centric research and development center Aerospace Corporation’s Center for Orbital Rantary and Debris Studies ( CRDS). , The rocket updated its forecast twice on both sides at 03:02 GMT as it re-entered the Pacific Ocean.
The EU Space Surveillance and Tracking (EUST) said its latest forecast for the re-entry period of the Long March 5B rocket body was 139 minutes on both sides of the GMT at 02:32 GMT on Sunday.
The European Union’s SST said the statistical probability of ground impact in populated areas was “low” but noted that the uncontrolled nature of the object made any predictions uncertain.
Space-Track, estimating data reporting collected by U.S. Space Command, said the wreckage would re-enter the Mediterranean basin.
Traveling at a speed of about 4.6 miles (13.k kilometers) per second, the re-entry interval of just one minute translates to a few miles on the ground.
Space-Track wrote on Twitter, “It’s not a hard and accurate measure to guess.
Long March 5B – with a main stage and four boosters – He left Hainan Island, China on April 29 Includes unmarried Tianhe module, which will become the living quarters of the permanent Chinese space station
The rocket will follow 10 more missions to complete the station.
Most experts believe that human risk is low.
“There will necessarily be larger pieces depending on the size of the object,” said Florent Delphi, an astronomer with the Paris-PSL observation.
“The chances of a wreck landing in a populated area are slim, probably one in a million.”
In May 2020, parts of the first Long March 5B fell to the Ivory Coast, damaging several buildings. No injuries were reported.
Debris from a Chinese rocket launch is not uncommon in China. In late April, authorities in the city of Xi’an in Hubei Province issued a notice to people in the surrounding county to prepare for the evacuation as parts are expected to land in the area.
“The Long March 5B reentry is unusual because the first phase of the rocket during launch reached orbital speeds instead of lowering the range as a general exercise,” the Airspace Corporation said in a blog post.
“The empty rocket body is now in an elliptical orbit around the Earth where it is being pulled towards uncontrolled re-entry.”
The empty main stage has been losing height since last week, but the speed of its orbital decay is uncertain due to unwanted atmospheric variables.
It is one of the largest pieces of space debris to return to Earth, with experts estimating its dry mass to be about 18 to 22 tons.
The first Long March 5B, which returned to Earth last year, weighed about 20 tons, carrying debris from the Columbia space shuttle in 2003, the Soviet Union’s Salyut space station in 1991, and NASA’s Skylab in 1979.