Fragment of a Chinese missile falling back to Earth in an uncontrolled landing;
The rocket began to orbit the Earth in an irregular trajectory as it slowly lost altitude.
Scientists will only have an accurate idea of where the thruster will land a few hours after it re-enters.
part of Rocket China is falling back to Earth on an uncontrolled slope – and scientists don’t know where it will descend. The wreckage of the massive craft may reach our planet as early as next week, according to the US Space Command, which is tracking its path.
The 23-ton Long March 5B rocket carrying the Wentian laboratory module took off from Hainan Island on Sunday and successfully docked at the orbital position of China on Monday.
After separating from the station, the rocket began to orbit the Earth in an irregular trajectory as it slowly lost altitude, making any prediction about where it would return to the atmosphere or where it would land on the planet nearly impossible. It’s the third time Chinese space agency allows uncontrolled killer descent.
Even if the rocket fell from the sky largely intact, there is a good chance that it will land in the ocean, which covers 70% of the Earth’s surface. Scientists will only have an accurate idea of where the thruster will land a few hours after it re-enters.
“Unfortunately we cannot predict when or where [o impacto]said Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who tracks the object.
The astronomer concluded, “Such a massive rocket stage should not be left in orbit for uncontrolled re-entry; the risk to the public is not great, but it is greater than I feel comfortable with.”
Launches by NASA, SpaceX and Russia’s Roscosmos scrape the upper stages of their rockets using controlled re-entry, and the waste is directed into Earth’s atmosphere to ensure it disintegrates in a remote, uninhabited area of the Pacific Ocean.
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