A Chinese missile may hit a Long March 5B that plunges back to Earth on Saturday


Much of the Chinese Long March 5B missile falls to the ground and debris may land sometime on or after Saturday evening – if the missile does not burn on its way down.

The missile could hit the ground around 11:30 PM EST on Saturday, according to it mathematical calculations By Aerospace Corporation, a California-based non-profit group that operates a space research and development center.

Where, exactly, is still a mystery – at the moment. As of Saturday morning, the latest Aerospace Company forecast has placed a large area of ​​the United States – including areas near New York City, Detroit and San Diego – near the projected paths of the missile after the expected return time. But a projection released on Saturday morning placed the expected return of the missile over the Atlantic.

The Pentagon said in a statement that the final destination of the missile “can only be determined within hours of its re-entry.”

“The core part of this rocket is very bulky and it burns for a long time,” said Leroy Qiao, a former NASA astronaut and commander of the International Space Station in 2004-2005. “That’s what makes him really unexpected where he’s going.”

US officials closely monitor the missile’s trajectory. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin “knows and knows that space leadership is tracking, and literally tracking, this missile debris.” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.

The Chinese government said it expects most of the missile to burn during re-entry.

A Long March 5B missile takes off from the Wenchang spacecraft launch site in Wenchang, Hainan Province, southern China.

A Long March 5B missile takes off from the Wenchang spacecraft launch site in Wenchang, Hainan Province, southern China.

Here’s what you should know:

When and why did China launch the missile?

The Long March 5B rocket carrying the main unit of the Tianhe Space Station lifted off from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan Province, southern China, on April 29, 2021. The space station, known as Heavenly Harmony, will be the first Chinese station to host long-term astronauts.

China plans to launch 10 more launches to bring additional parts of the space station into orbit.

Is the Chinese missile falling to the ground?

Yes, and “it probably wouldn’t be good,” said Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard University’s Center for Astrophysics. Watchman Earlier this week.

Discarded Heart Rocket, or first-stage missiles, usually fall into the sea shortly after takeoff and do not go into orbit like this did.

Former astronaut Qiao said, unlike other spaceships that have fallen to Earth, such as debris from the NASA Skylab space station, which crashed into the unmanned Australian desert in 1979, the Chinese missile was not designed to mark its return point.

He said the huge size of the missile makes its re-entry difficult to predict.

“You have a piece of missile debris weighing 22 tons, and it will orbit around the earth … and it will go down wherever it lands,” Qiao said.

What does China say about the missile?

According to China, a missile that falls to the ground will mostly burn out upon re-entry, posing little threat to people and property on the ground, the nation’s government reassured the world on Friday.

Speaking in Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that China is closely monitoring the missile’s return to the atmosphere. Reuters reported.

“The possibility of this process causing damage to the ground is very low,” he said.

The Chinese space agency has yet to specify whether the main stage of the massive Long March 5B missile will be controlled or if it will fall out of control.

Where will the Chinese missile land?

No one knows for sure. McDowell said CNN It is almost impossible to determine where the debris could be headed due to the speed at which the missile is moving – even slight changes in conditions radically alter the trajectory.

Debris will be pulled towards Earth by increasing collisions with particles in the Earth’s atmosphere. Space News He said.

The debris orbit covers an area of ​​the planet from New Zealand to Newfoundland.

The organization said on Saturday, “It is too early to know exactly when the missile body will be re-inserted. But we know that it will be somewhere along this yellow and blue line.” Its current expectations. “Predicting the current return point is where the yellow satellite icon circled in orange is installed. 🛰 = X specifies the spot (for now)”

It is also too early to know where the debris fell with certainty, but the organization indicated that the debris path can be up to 1,200 miles long and 60 miles wide.

What is the size of the Chinese missile that falls to the ground?

It is about 100 feet long and will be among the largest pieces of space debris to fall on Earth.

“The missile body is almost intact, as I understand it,” Kirby said this week. “It fell to the ground.”

Has a missile fell to the ground before?

Yeah. CNN said that last year, part of a Chinese missile, one of the largest uncontrolled pieces of space debris, passed directly over Los Angeles and Central Park in New York City before landing in the Atlantic Ocean.

The 18-ton rocket that landed last May was the heaviest debris falling out of control since the Soviet Salyut 7 space station in 1991.

China’s first space station, Tiangong-1, crashed in the Pacific Ocean in 2016 after Beijing confirmed it had lost control. In 2019, the space agency took control of the demolition of its second station, Tiangong-2, in the atmosphere.

Source: The Associated Press; Maps4news.com/ © HERE; USA Research Today



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