Chinese Rocket Has An Uncontrolled Descent Over The Atlantic Ocean

15 Mai, 2020, 00:57 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Large chunks of a Chinese rocket lost New York City for about 15 minutes

In one of the most uncontrolled fall of a piece of man-made space debris incident in decades, the remains of a giant segment of a Chinese rocket crash-landed in the Atlantic Ocean this week.

With an aim to become a space superpower alongside the United States 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.

The rocket's uncontrolled reentry path was largely determined by the last few days of space weather, McDowell said.

According to the USA military, the bits that did not completely burn up might have come up on the surface and crashed down into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of West Africa.

A Chinese rocket, Long March 5B, fell back to Earth on Monday (May 11) after losing control.

It's important to mention the fact that throughout the history, space launches have involved massive amounts of spacecraft and components that re-entered our planet's atmosphere as debris in controlled maneuvers, but also in uncontrolled descents as well. The rocket's core stage measured around 100 feet (30 meters) long and 16 feet (5 meters) wide, with a mass of approximately 20 metric tons. But according to Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, the affected villages were on the rocket's re-entry track. The Air Force's final prediction was plus or minus half an hour, during which time it went 3/4 of the way around the world.

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Before it splashed down in the waters off the west coast of Mauritania, the rocket core flew over Los Angeles and New York City.

"For a large object like this, dense pieces like parts of the rocket engines could survive reentry and crash to Earth", McDowell tells CNN.

"Once they reach the lower atmosphere they are travelling relatively slowly, so worst case is they could take out a house".

'I've never seen a major reentry pass directly over so many major conurbations, ' said McDowell, adding that it thankfully missed any inhabited land.

China previously launched an earlier version of the rocket, called Long March-5, in December, where it carried a Shijian-20 satellite into geostationary transfer orbit.

The Chinese rocket, which fell into the atmosphere over the Atlantic Ocean, becoming the most massive object in almost 30 years to perform an uncontrolled re-entry from orbit.



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