The massive core of the Chinese rocket used last week to launch the first leg of the space station’s ambitions is a low-orbit spin around Earth, and where one would guess.
SpaceNews reports that the core of the Long March 5B, the country’s largest rocket, will enter the world again within the next week as one of the “The biggest case of reentry into an uncontrolled spacecraft and possibly landing on a manned space”
The site estimates that a 100-foot long object orbits the Earth every 90 minutes and moves north of New York, Beijing and as far south as New Zealand. The report states that despite the threat But it is more likely to splash in one of the world̵7;s oceans or in isolated areas.
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Spaceflight observer Jonathan McDowell told the website that since the 1990s, there have been no instances of a 10-ton spacecraft that “was intentionally left in orbit to return to uncontrolled”.
The report says that the core of the rocket – when empty – has a mass of about 21 metric tons (you can track down the rocket here).
“It might not be good,” McDowell said, according to the Guardian. “The last time they launched a Long March 5B rocket, they ended up with huge long rods flying through the sky and damaging many buildings in Ivory Coast.”
The Tianhe module, or “Heavenly Harmony”, blasted into space atop a Long March 5B rocket from the Wenchang Launch Center in the southern island province of Hainan. The payload was the core module of the first permanent space station.
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The space program is a source of great national pride, Prime Minister Li Keqiang and other top civilian and military leaders watched the launch from the control center in Beijing.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.