At a time when Russia has decided to certify its withdrawal from the International Space Station (ISS) after 2024 and will focus on building its own orbital base, the international community is in alert for another fact that can cause greater damage: the fall of a Long March 5B rocket.
During the month of May, it was reported that a large Chinese rocket would fall to Earth out of control. The Pentagon has warned that the Long March 5B it would enter the atmosphere and, without knowing the exact place where it would fall, it would cause serious damage and its remains could be seen somewhere. He finally fell into the ocean, and luckily didn’t get major. But a new flying object of the same model is about to fall on our planet a few weeks later.
According to Space.com, the new Long March 5B, 21 tons, It was launched into space last Sunday, but experts predict it won’t burn up completely when it re-enters Earth’s atmosphere. Thus, it would fall to our surface at high speed, without knowing either the exact place or the possible consequences of its fall.
The first part of the rocket was already detached during the launch and the object it will continue to circle the Earth in the coming days gradually falling.
Jonathan McDowell, an experienced tracker at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said US Space Command data shows the rocket’s first stage floats on its own. “The inert core stage remains in orbit and has not been actively desorbed,” he tweeted.
Here is the orbital data so far of objects from the CZ-5B launch. The central stage remains in a slowly decaying low orbit. There is a data point for a debris object (green) whose nature is unclear. pic.twitter.com/6nUXY7sLhe
—Jonathan McDowell (@planet4589) July 25, 2022
On the other hand, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson accused China of “failing to meet responsible standards for their space debris”including minimizing risk during re-entry and transparency of operations.
China has previously dismissed claims of irresponsibility, with China’s foreign ministry saying the likelihood of harm is “extremely low”. Many scientists agree with China where the chance of debris causing serious damage is minimal, although others believe that launch designs like the Long March 5B are an unnecessary risk.
In general, the launches of these rockets generally do not involve any danger. In June, the remains of a CZ-2F rocket, also from China, could be seen in the skies above Andalusia. These objects, in particular, are used in the manned missions of the Astronaut Corps of the People’s Liberation Army of China. The Shenzhou 14 mission departed from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on June 5, 2022, successfully carrying three astronauts to the Tiangong Space Station in low Earth orbit.