The bone chinese rockets they are leaving. Literally. Over the past year, there have been several occasions where a fragment of space debris from these vehicles exited its orbit and fell to Earth. still recently we could see from Spain a row of fireballs generated by this debris. Very little of that, but Earth is once again preparing to receive a new batch of scrap.
This time it’s rocket fragments Long March 5B which was used on July 24 to bring new parts to the Tiangong Space Station. According to the observations and calculations of Jonathan McDowellan astrophysicist Harvard–Smithsonian Centerthe first stage of the chinese rocket was left free in orbit after doing its job. Therefore, it is very likely to slip out of orbit and fall uncontrollably to Earth.
It’s a common thing It doesn’t just happen with Chinese rockets. The result is usually that the pieces of space junk they burn upon contact with the atmosphere, breaking up into such small pieces that it would be very rare for them to cause damage. However, this case could be something more worrying, since the rocket that was used is 53.6 meters tall and weighs 837,500 kilograms. No matter how badly it breaks down, the fragments can still be large and pose a risk.
The problem of the release of space debris
Once a rocket has finished its work in space, from Earth, you can choose between two options: bring it home in a controlled manner or leave it free until it is finished. exorbitant and fall at any time.
The first option, of course, is the safest. However, the second is infinitely cheaper. For this reason, China and other countries have often chosen to let their space junk move freely.
After all, as a recently published study on this topic explains, it is much more profitable to pay compensation in the unlikely event that a fragment falls on a human. The problem is that, according to the same study, it will be less and less unlikely. Indeed, in less than a decade, the probability that one of these pieces of debris falls on a human being it will be 10%. It is worrying.
For this reason, some private companies, such as SpaceX, are already developing recyclable rockets, which are returned to Earth in a controlled manner and can even be reused later. In addition, these rockets are made available to big agencies like NASA.
The Elon Musk’s company He has his reasons for doing so. On the one hand, they try to compensate (barely) all the space waste that launch with their constellations of satellites. But, on the other hand, they seek to prevent situations like the one that occurred in 2021 from happening again, when a fragment of one of their rockets fell on a Washington farm.
In the case of Chinese rockets, on the other hand, they continue for the moment to act according to the traditional method: to let their space debris return to earth unchecked. The problem is that they currently have a very intense activity for the construction of their Tiangong Space Station. That means launching a lot of rockets and with them a lot more debris towards Earth.
Bad experiences with Chinese rockets
In 2020, the remains of a Chinese Long March rocket fell on a village in ivory coast, damaging some buildings. Thankfully, there were no injuries, but it was a warning of what can happen when space junk gets out of control.
Later, in 2021, new fragments of one of its rockets fell into the ocean, near The Maldives. And recently we saw them cross the Spanish skies until they got lost the Mediterranean.
Complaints from other space agencies about this incessant rain of Chinese rocket debris are beginning to abound. So much so that China came out a year ago to respond to reviewsmaking sure they are not the only ones uncontrolled returns and that all these complaints are the result of envy for its rapid advances in space technology.
Whatever the reason, what is clear is that with the increase in the world’s population and the amount of space junk, the return of uncontrolled waste to Earth andIt’s getting more and more dangerous. It doesn’t matter if the fragments come from China or from NASA itself. It’s a dangerous situation and solutions must be sought before anything more than just fireballs ripping through the sky is missed.