Sci-tech

No plan to shoot down Chinese rocket -Pentagon chief

No plan to shoot down Chinese rocket -Pentagon chief”

It could strike an inhabited area, experts warn.

Where it will hit "cannot be pinpointed until within hours of its reentry", the Pentagon said in a statement Tuesday.

USA officials are watching the rocket's trajectory.

American Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the Pentagon has no plans to shoot down an out -of-control Chinese rocket now tumbling towards Earth.

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The Long March-5B Y2 rocket carrying the core module of China's space station, Tianhe, blasts off from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on April 29, 2021 in Wenchang, Hainan Province of China.

Though the rocket appears as a speck in the image, China's Long March 5B rocket core is 98 feet (30 meters) tall.

The rocket successfully launched the Tianhe module last week, which will become the living quarters of the future Chinese Space Station (CSS).

The country has been a late starter when it comes to space exploration, sending its first astronaut into space only in 2003, decades after the Soviet Union and the U.S. did so.

More news: India's coronavirus infection count passes 20 mil.

He pointed out that the Chinese rocket is slowly approaching Earth's surface, and is now about 160 km away, while on Friday, it was 250 km away from the surface of Jordan, meaning it has entered the atmosphere therefore increasing burning and brightness.

Yes, and "it's potentially not good", Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Astrophysics Center at Harvard University, told the Guardian.

Such rocket sections - discarded core, or first stage - usually reenter soon after liftoff, normally over water, and don't go into orbit as this one did.

China's space agency has yet to say whether the main stage of the huge Long March 5B rocket is being controlled or will make an uncontrolled descent.

After its separation from the space station module, the rocket began to orbit the Earth in an irregular trajectory as it slowly lost altitude, making any predictions about where it will re-enter the atmosphere or fall back to the ground almost impossible.

"Small US and European upper stages also re-enter uncontrolled (and burn up entirely) but the big US or European rockets are specially designed not to leave big stages in orbit; they are always safely disposed of on the first orbit of the flight", he told the BBC.

"The probability of causing harm to aviation activities or (on people and activities) on the ground is extremely low", foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said.

Where will the Chinese rocket land?

. The problem is, that as of Thursday, no one seems to know.



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