After yesterday’s launch, the core of China’s Long March 5B rocket accidentally entered Earth’s low orbit, a booster – for now. Spin out Of control – ready to perform an uncontrolled reverse from orbit that may threaten inhabited areas
As SpaceNews reportThe core phase tends to fall from low Earth’s orbit over the next few days, making it one of the largest man-made objects to do uncontrolled rollbacks. The enormous core, 98 feet (30 meters) long and 16 feet (5 meters) wide, could burn as it re-enters the atmosphere. But debris may reach the surface of the water Odds are, the debris from the boosters will either fall into the ocean or into an uninhabited area. But there is an opportunity to threaten human life and property
In addition to this unexpected incident, yesterday’s Long March 5B rocket launch from the Wenchang Launch Center was SuccessThis marks the first of the 11 planned launches as China begins construction of the Tianhe space station, or “Heavenly Harmony,” a 176-foot (53.7-meter) Long March 5B heavy lift vehicle with four. The side reinforcements were designed specifically for this project. This is the latest model of the Long March 5 rocket; Previous versions Fail During the launch on July 2, 2017, the new space station is expected to be completed by the end of 2022, after which the orbital outpost will accommodate three crew members.
The main stage released a 25-ton Tianhe module shortly after completing the eight-minute mission. But instead of falling to the earth as planned (And go to a predetermined space) the main expendable stage will be in space and succeed Escape speed Ideally, the primary step should have been a regulated debit shortly after Tianhe’s split, but it’s not clear why this didn’t happen.
Unfortunately, we’ve been through this equestrian job before. The same thing. To happen To the Long March 5B rocket in May last year, with the core entering low-Earth orbit. This major step fell into the Atlantic Ocean and into West Africa with debris that could have formed. Damage To villages in Côte d’Ivoire. Fortunately, no deaths were reported.
Jonathan McDowell, astrophysicist at The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics suspects this is a deliberate design.
“Both CZ-5B launches left their core in orbit for uncontrolled reverse,” he explained in an email. “They are over 20 years old. [metric tons]It has been the standard practice for 30 years around the world not to drop an object this large, or even half, in orbit without a controlled durban. ”
He added, “This design choice in 2021 was unacceptable and tarnished the great success of China in the Tianhe launch.”
McDowell said a possible solution is to add a drained system. “The rocket thrusters the rest in the forward direction to lower the perigee and make it re-enter,” this can be “quite tricky,” he notes, because “the dead rocket arena will fall down at that point” but This method is likely to be cheaper “than adding stabilization and starting engine”.
It is currently not known when the booster, which weighs about 23 tons, will clear and possibly land, as SpaceNews reports, “the object’s 41.5 degree orbital inclination means that the rocket’s body will It passes a little further north than New York, Madrid and Beijing, and as far south as Chile and Wellington, New Zealand, and can be re-entered at any point within the area.
The U.S. Army is using radar to track forward-facing objects, which are now slated for 2021-035B, and their elevations oscillate between 106 and 231 miles (170 and 372 km) above the surface, according to SpaceNews. At speeds over 4.4 mph (7 km / s), the subject flashes periodically, indicating that it has fallen and become out of control.
McDowell wondered if we could get a prediction about the booster’s return in a day or two, but “it would be useless in terms of location, just an estimate.” Hour in reverse time is an 18,000 mile error in location. ”
On a similar note, SpaceX Falcon 9’s second stage failed to clear up properly after its March launch. The second step, which was supposed to burn over the Pacific Ocean, made an uncontrolled reentry over the Northwest Pacific Ocean. Spectacular light and sound show and Place the pressure tank in the farmer’s field.However, the Long March 5B’s main step is much bigger.
The record of the most uncontrolled relapse of man-made object goes to NASA’s Skylab.The 84-ton space station was destroyed in 1979, scattered debris across the Indian Ocean and parts of western Australia.
This post was updated to include Jonathan McDowell’s comment and include details on debris from previous boosters that had fallen into West Africa.
Correction: An earlier version of the post incorrectly stated the rocket’s height at 50 meters, actually being 30 meters.
over: A. Burnt-out piece of a SpaceX falcon 9 rocket found in a farmer’s field in Washington..