Part of the massive rocket launching China’s first module for the Tianhe space station is crashing back to Earth and potentially causing an uncontrolled reentry at an unknown landing spot.
The Long March 5B’s 30-meter-high core launched the unmanned axis module “Heavenly Harmony” into Earth’s low orbit on April 29 from Wenchang in China’s Hainan Province.
Then, Long March 5B entered temporary orbit, setting the stage for the largest uncontrolled new show ever. Some experts fear it might land on populated areas.
On Tuesday, the core orbits the Earth every 90 minutes at a speed of 27,600 km / h and an altitude of over 300 km. To orbit.ing-now.com
Since the weekend it has dropped nearly 80km, and SpaceNews reports that amateur ground observations showed it was shaking and out of control. This, and its speed, makes it impossible to predict where to land when Earth’s atmosphere eventually drags down.
“Since 1990, nothing more than 10 tons has been deliberately left in orbit to re-enter uncontrolled,” space observer Jonathan McDowell told SpaceNews.
The Long March 5B core is expected to weigh around 21 tons.
McDowell said he hopes China will organize a regulated debit system after its separation from Tianhe. “I think by current standards it is unacceptable to let it re-enter without control,” he told SpaceNews.
From its current orbit, the rocket is moving through Earth to the far north, including New York, Madrid and Beijing, and as far south as Chile and Wellington, New Zealand, and can be re-entered at any time in this area.
Given its speed, the slight change in its path could make a big difference to its end, although experts believe the most likely event will see any debris that survived the heat from re-entering the ocean. Somewhere, which covers approximately 70% of the surface
The rocket launch is part of 11 planned missions as part of the construction of the Chinese space station, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.The T-shaped space station is expected to weigh about 66 tons, which is smaller. International space station Which launched its first module in 1998 and weighs approximately 450 tons.
The Chinese space station will have a docking port and can also connect to Chinese satellites. Theoretically, up to six modules can be expanded.