China's Long March-5B rocket booster set for uncontrolled reentry
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (UPI) May 05, 2021
A U.S. astrophysicist is raising concerns about a Chinese carrier rocket used last week to launch the main module of a space station, as the rocket's core could be falling out of the Earth's orbit.
Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Astrophysics Center at Harvard University, said it is possible some parts of the rocket will survive re-entry and cause damage on land, The Guardian reported Tuesday.
If the shards make it to land, the destruction could be the "equivalent of a small plane crash scattered over 100 miles," McDowell said, according to the report.
Chinese state media said Thursday that the core module of its first domestically developed space station, the Tianhe, was successfully launched from Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on China's Hainan Island.
The Tianhe, measuring 4.2 meters in diameter and 16.6 meters in length, was carried into space by the Long March-5B carrier rocket, state media said.
Xi Jinping congratulated the crew at the China Manned Space Engineering Office, but the government has since not commented on the status of the Long March rocket, which has entered a temporary orbit, according to McDowell.
"What's bad is that it's really negligent on China's part," the analyst said. "Things more than 10 tons we don't let them fall out of the sky uncontrolled deliberately."
Uncertainties about the direction of the rocket could mean its reentry could take place as far north as New York, Madrid and Beijing in the Northern Hemisphere, or as far south as southern Chile and Wellington, New Zealand, according to The Guardian.
McDowell said the "most likely outcome" is that it will fall into the ocean, which comprises more than two-thirds of the Earth's surface.
In April 2018, China's Tiangong 1 space station also spun out of control and re-entered the Earth's atmosphere, according to CBS News and BBC at the time.
Most of the 8.5-ton vehicle burned up upon re-entry, according to Xinhua news agency.
Source: United Press International
Space law and the fight against space debris
Sydney, Australia (The Conversation) Apr 29, 2021
Space is getting crowded. More than 100 million tiny pieces of debris are spinning in Earth orbit, along with tens of thousands of bigger chunks and around 3,300 functioning satellites. Large satellite constellations such as Starlink are becoming more common, infuriating astronomers and baffling casual skywatchers. In the coming decade, we may see many more satellites launched than in all of history up to now. Collisions between objects in orbit are getting harder to avoid. Several technolog ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.