China’s out-of-control booster rocket will return to Earth on Sunday

Experts say the unguided Chinese booster will return to Earth on Sunday and could hit the ground in populated areas.

The falling space debris is the result of the Long March 5B launch on July 24 to bring the Wentian experimental module to Earth. ChinaTiangong space station.

Weighing around 22 metric tons (about 48,500 pounds), it will re-enter Earth’s atmosphere at 00:24 BST on Sunday, plus or minus 16 hours anyway, according to the Aerospace Corporation.

The US nonprofit that tracks the debris has highlighted a huge area of ​​Earth where debris could fall, but said it’s “too early” to know exactly where.

More than 88 percent of the world’s population lives in the potential re-entry zone, which covers all of Africa, India, Australia and Central America.

The Aerospace Corporation has identified a huge area of ​​​​the Earth where a fragment could fall, stretching thousands of kilometers north and south of the equator. The yellow icon indicates where the rocket debris will be midway through the reentry window — a possible point where the debris will hit Earth, although it is “too early” to know exactly where it will land.

The Aerospace Corporation said there is “a non-zero chance” of debris landing in a populated area – in other words, it’s not impossible, so it could happen.

“A reentry of this size would not burn up in Earth’s atmosphere,” Aerospace Corporation, based in El Segundo, California, said in a statement.

CHINESE ROCKET 5B “GREAT MARCH”

On Sunday (July 24), China launched a new module of its space station on a Long March 5B rocket.

Unfortunately, the rocket booster, which weighs 22 metric tons (about 48,500 pounds), has already reached low orbit and is expected to fall back towards Earth.

The Aerospace Corporation says the booster should re-enter Earth’s atmosphere at 00:24 BST on Sunday, plus or minus 16 hours anyway.

The Aerospace Corporation said there is “a non-zero chance” of debris landing in a populated area – in other words, it’s not impossible, so it could happen.

“A general rule of thumb is that 20-40 percent of the mass of a large object reaches the ground, although this depends on the design of the object.”

But according to Aerospace Corporation consultant Ted Muhlhaupt, the overall risk to people and property on the ground is fairly low, as 75 percent of the land surface in the potential re-entry zone is water, desert or jungle.

Speech during the briefing live on twitter Muhlhaupt also said on Thursday that there is a “99.5 percent chance that nothing will happen.”

“Personally, if it hit my head, I would run outside with a camera to watch it because I think it would be more visual. [opportunity] than a real risk,” he said.

Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, added: “The worst-case scenario in this case would be less severe than the single cruise missile strike we see every day in the Ukraine war, so let’s put that into some perspective here.

It is possible that part of the 21-ton Long March 5B rocket will not burn up completely when it re-enters Earth’s atmosphere.

Then it will crash to the surface at an unknown location and at a tremendous speed – several hundred miles per hour.

The problem with Chinese missiles is rooted in the risky design of the country’s launch process.

Typically, ejected rocket stages re-enter the atmosphere shortly after launch, usually above water, and do not enter orbit. However, the Long March 5B rocket does.

The Long March-5B Y3 rocket carrying the laboratory module of China's Wentian space station launched from Wenchang Space Center on July 24, 2022 in Wenchang, Hainan Province, China.

The Long March-5B Y3 rocket carrying the laboratory module of China’s Wentian space station launched from Wenchang Space Center on July 24, 2022 in Wenchang, Hainan Province, China.

Earlier, China denied allegations of irresponsibility, with China’s foreign ministry saying the chance of harming anything or anyone on the ground was “extremely low.”

Many scientists agree with China that the chance of the debris causing serious damage is negligible, although others believe that launch patterns such as Long March 5B pose an unnecessary risk.

Last May, one of America’s Long March 5B rockets crashed on re-entry over the Indian Ocean, north of the Maldives.

In April, the Long March 5B sent Tianhe, the first building block of China’s new space station, into orbit.

There were fears that this could crash into a populated area on land, although it ended up falling into the ocean.

NASA administrator Bill Nelson criticized Beijing and said it was “extremely important” for China and others to “act responsibly and transparently in space.”

“Space powers must minimize the risks to people and property on Earth associated with the re-entry of space objects and ensure that these operations are as transparent as possible,” he wrote in a statement.

The Wenchang Cosmodrome is a launch site on Hainan Island in China.

The Wenchang Cosmodrome is a launch site on Hainan Island in China.

The Tiangong Space Station, currently under construction, is visible in this artwork.

The Tiangong Space Station, currently under construction, is visible in this artwork.

Wentian, a research laboratory dedicated to scientific and biological experiments, has already docked with the main body of the space station called Tianhe.

It will be followed by the second module of the Mengtian Research Laboratory, due to be launched in October this year.

When Mengtian connects with the rest of Tiangong, construction on the space station will finally be completed, although Beijing also plans to launch Xuntian, a space telescope that will co-orbit with the space station, in 2024.

Tiangong (meaning “heavenly palace”) will compete with the aging International Space Station (ISS), which is operated by the US, Canadian, Russian, Japanese and European space agencies.

It will consist of three modules, although two more spacecraft, Shenzhou and Tianzhou, which carry crew and cargo, respectively, can dock at the station.

When completed, the Tiangong space station will weigh about 66 tons, much less than the ISS, which launched its first module in 1998 and weighs about 450 tons.

It is expected that the service life will be at least 10 years.

TIANGONG: CHINA’S NEW SPACE STATION CONSISTING OF THREE SEPARATE MODULES AND TWO ATTACHABLE SHIPS

The Chinese space station is called “Tiangong‘ which means ‘Heavenly Palace’.

Tiangong consists of several different modules that run one after the other.

In April 2021, the main module called “Tianhe‘, was launched. Two months later, the first brigade arrived in Tianhe.

In July 2022 Wentiana smaller module in which research experiments will be carried out, attached to Tianhe.

In October 2022, the second module of the research laboratory, mengtian, will also be attached to Tianhe. When this happens, the Tiangong space station will be completed.

Two more spacecraft that can dock with the station – Shenzhou as well as Tianzhou – carry crew and cargo respectively and are not considered part of the station itself.

China also plans to launch Xuntiana space telescope that will be in the same orbit as the space station in 2024.

3D rendering of the Chinese Space Station or Tiangong Space Station as it will look when completed.  Tianhe will be the main living quarters for the three crew members.  Shenzhou is an existing spacecraft that will dock with the station along with the crew.  Tianzhou is an existing cargo transport spacecraft.

3D rendering of the Chinese Space Station or Tiangong Space Station as it will look when completed. Tianhe will be the main living quarters for the three crew members. Shenzhou is an existing spacecraft that will dock with the station along with the crew. Tianzhou is an existing cargo transport spacecraft.