Science

Space junk from Chinese rocket was about 15 minutes from hitting NYC

Space junk from Chinese rocket was about 15 minutes from hitting NYC”

A piece of a rocket that weighed almost 18 tons uncontrollably blasted through Earth's atmosphere Monday and splashed into the Atlantic Ocean, media outlets reported.

View of debris that fell from space in the village of N'Guessankro near Bouake in central region in Ivory Coast on May 12, 2020. "At 17.8 tonnes, it is the most massive object to make an uncontrolled re-entry since the 39-tonne Salyut-7 in 1991, unless you count OV-102 Columbia in 2003", he wrote. McDowell said there were some reports emerging about possible debris found downrange in Cote d'Ivoire. Typically during a launch, a rocket's large first stage will provide the majority of thrust during the first minutes of launch and then drop away before reaching an orbital velocity, falling back into the ocean. No injuries were reported.

With an aim to become a space superpower alongside the USA and Russia, China has launched a Long March 5B rocket with an unmanned prototype spacecraft into orbit from Wenchang Space Launch Center in south China's Hainan province on May 5 this year. Although he did not have access to a detailed model of debris, McDowell estimated that at the very least, dense components of the rocket's engines would have survived. "Once they reach the lower atmosphere they are traveling relatively slowly, so worst case is they could take out a house".

However, the Long March 5B rocket has no second stage.

More news: Serological surveys to look for COVID-19 immunity in Canadian population

The 18th Space Control Squadron, a unit of the U.S. Air Force, confirmed the 30 metre-long core stage's descent on May 11 and scientists expected that parts of the stage would burn up on re-entry.

But that 9.5-ton (8,600 kg) crash was less than half the size of today's descent, and it was guided remotely using the last of its fuel to land in a specific, remote bit of ocean. After the successful launch, the core stage remained in a low-Earth orbit for around a week before making its planned, albeit uncontrolled, descent. Nevertheless, he tweeted that the rocket part's fall was unusual: "I've never seen a major reentry pass directly over so many major conurbations!" McDowell tweeted following the event.

According to the latest data coming from Science Alert, the core stage of a Chinese Long March 5B (CZ-5B) rocket, which was successfully launched on May 5, was a few days in orbit as part of its mission.

In July 2019, the Chinese space station Tiangong-2 fell in a controlled descent through Earth's atmosphere.



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