The Daily Mail:
Fears it could shower debris over New York, Madrid and Beijing
- China launched its Long March 5b rocket could have an uncontrolled reentry
- The rocket launched last week to deliver the first modular of a space station
- Officials found the core stage is moving slowly and uncontrolled toward Earth
- Long March 5b was initially set to land in a pre-designed spot in the ocean
- However, experts warn large chunks could fall on inhabited areas
An out-of-control 21-ton Chinese rocket is falling to earth and could land on populated areas, experts warn.
China’s Long March 5b rocket that launched Thursday is predicted to crash back to Earth within the next few days.
Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer who tracks objects orbiting Earth, told SpaceNews that it’s path takes it ‘a little farther north than New York, Madrid and Beijing and as far south as southern Chile and Wellington, New Zealand’.
It could land anywhere in this range, that covers oceans and populated and unpopulated areas, but most of it would burn up in the atmosphere.
Satellite trackers have detected the 100-foot-long rocket travelling at more than four miles per second.
China launched Long March 5B at 11:23 am local time on Thursday to deliver the first stage of its upcoming space station.
The module, named ‘Tianhe’, or ‘Harmony of the Heavens’, will become living quarters for three crew members once the massive structure is complete.
China aims to complete its Chinese Space Station, known as Tiangong (Heavenly Palace) by the end of 2022, state media reported, after several further modules are launched.
When complete, Tiangong Space Station will orbit Earth at an altitude of 211 to 280 miles.
However, the return of the rocket could put an end to China’s celebration if the vehicle lands in an inhabited area.
Space debris trackers observed it moving slowly and unpredictably to Earth over the past few days, and reentry of the vehicle would be one of the largest