The trajectory of the Chinese rocket module after returning to Earth is out of control
For a few days, Chinese Rockets It is returning to Earth without knowing where or when it will affect it. Experts say that although their remains can reach inhabited areas, the risk is minimal.
On April 29, China used a rocket to launch the first module of its future space station, Tianhe (“celestial harmony”). Long March 5B. The second floor of this powerful space shuttle is what is now returning to Earth.
Its trajectory is out of control, because its designer expected it to decompose in motion. atmosphere natural. The problem is that due to its huge mass (10 to 18 tons), the rocket is unlikely to be completely consumed.
Florent Delefie, an astronomer at the PSL Observatory in Paris, said that lighter parts are bound to volatilize, but “given the size of the object, some parts will be forcibly retained.”
In addition, “if the rocket is made of a material that does not disintegrate when entering the atmosphere, which seems to be the case, the risk is greater,” Delefie said.
Nicolas Brobrinsky, head of the Engineering and Innovation Department of the European Space Agency, told AFP.
Considering that the altitude of the object is between 150 km and 250 km, it is difficult to predict because the lower layers of the atmosphere are more susceptible to changes in density. In fact, Broblinsky said, “We don’t know when it will fall.”
It is scheduled to hit Earth on Friday between 9:50 PM GMT on Saturday and 7:00 PM on Sunday.
Although forecasts will become more accurate over time, “even an hour before the impact occurs, the uncertainty will be great,” the expert added.
The only thing that can be determined is that the object has an inclined orbit of 41 degrees with respect to the earth’s equator, so it can only fall into the zone between the latitude 41 of the northern and southern hemispheres, for example, most parts of the United States. Latin America, Southern Europe and Africa.
However, as Beijing asserts, the most likely thing is that the wreckage of the rocket has fallen into the desert or sea, which accounts for 70% of the earth.
To ensure the confidence of the person in charge of the ESA, the possibility of an impact in a residential area is “negligible, no doubt less than one million.”
Even if the debris falls on the house, the impact speed will be relatively low (approximately 200 km/h). It has nothing to do with the impact of meteorites (36,000 km/h). On the contrary, for a person, this effect can be fatal.
In 2020, the remains of another Long March rocket hit several villages in Côte d’Ivoire, causing damage, but no casualties.
According to NASA As of January 2020, there are approximately 20,000 objects larger than 10 cm in Earth orbit, monitored by radar and telescopes.