Researchers: Chinese rocket stage to hit Earth in uncontrolled descent
by Doug Cunningham
Washington DC (UPI) Jul 27, 2021
A hunk of Chinese space rocket junk weighing roughly 25 tons will fall back to Earth on Sunday, according to researchers at the Aerospace Corp.'s Center for Orbital Re-entry and Debris Studies.
CORDS researchers predict the rocket body re-entry into Earth's atmosphere will happen Sunday based on current projections.
Aerospace plans to host a Twitter discussion Thursday with other experts discussing the rocket's re-entry.
China's Long March 5B rocket launched Sunday to put a module of the Tiangong space station into orbit. China's space agency said the Wentian lab module docked at the Tiangong space station early Monday.
According to CORDS researchers, the falling Chinese space debris is 53.6 meters high and, due to the uncontrolled nature of its descent, there is "a non-zero probability of the surviving debris landing in a populated area."
The core stages of orbital-class rockets are built to be steered safely into the sea or over sparsely populated areas. But the Long March 5B core stage goes into orbit with its payload and that sets up an uncontrolled crash back to Earth.
The researchers say 20% to 40% of the mass will reach the ground. That would mean 5.5-9.9 tons would impact the Earth, according to Aerospace.
In a statement last year about another piece of Chinese rocket debris falling to Earth, NASA administrator Bill Nelson said, "It is clear that China is failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris."
China is expected to launch the third and final Long March 5B rocket this fall to carry the last of three space station modules into orbit.
China successfully launches lab to Tiangong space station
Washington DC (UPI) Jul 25, 2021
China has successfully launched a laboratory to its space station orbiting Earth, the Asian nation's space agency said. The 23-ton Wentian lab module was launched aboard the Long March 5B rocket from China's Wenchang Space Launch Site in Hainan Province at 2:22 p.m. Sunday and docked to the core module of the Tiangong Space Station early Monday, the China Manned Space Agency said. The Shenzhou-14 crew, who have been in the core module since June, then entered the lab for the first time a ... read more
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