Chinese missile “out of control” is set to crash back to earth in an unknown location in hours, world news
Remnants of a Chinese missile are expected to fall back to Earth in an uncontrolled reentry this weekend.
The rocket, named Long March 5B, was launched on April 29th from the Wenchang Space Launch Center to Tianhe – the first module of China’s future space station – into orbit.
The spaceship contains living quarters for three crew members on the space station and was the first of eleven missions that were required to complete the station.
The rocket’s body is orbiting the earth and is about to enter the lower atmosphere.
The exact descent point “can only be determined within a few hours after his re-entry”, which is expected to take place on Saturday.
The US said Thursday it was tracking the object from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, but there were no plans to shoot it down.
“We hope it ends up in a place where it will not harm anyone,” said Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
“Hopefully in the sea or somewhere like that.”
Mr. Austin also indirectly criticized China, saying, “It should be necessary to act safely and thoughtfully and to ensure that we take these kinds of things into account when planning and conducting operations.”
Harvard-based astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell said potentially dangerous debris will likely escape combustion after streaking through the atmosphere at supersonic speeds but would in all likelihood fall into the ocean.
Mr McDowell added that there is a possibility that pieces could fall over land, like in May 2020 when pieces of another Chinese rocket fell over Ivory Coast, damaging several buildings but not injuring anyone.
Mr. McDowell also said that most countries design spacecraft to avoid large, uncontrolled re-entries.
“It makes the Chinese missile designers look lazy that they haven’t brought this up,” he said, describing the failure as “negligent.”
Because of its current orbit, the debris trail is likely to be somewhere as far north as New York, Madrid or Beijing and as far south as southern Chile and New Zealand, McDowell said.
Chinese state media have downplayed fears that the missile could cause harm because it is “not worth panic” by suggesting that it will fall into international waters somewhere.
The rocket launch is part of China’s increasingly ambitious space programBeijing plans at least 10 similar launches to put equipment into orbit.
The space station will be completed by 2022, and China is planning to build one as well Lunar base in cooperation with Russia.
China is a late entry into space research and did not send its first astronaut into space until 2003.
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