Debris From Chinese Rocket Could Rain Down On Earth In Coming Days
“Due to the uncontrolled nature of its descent, there is a non-zero probability of the surviving debris landing in a populated area — over 88% of the world’s population lives under the reentry’s potential debris footprint,” the Aerospace Corp said in a statement.
New Delhi: Debris left behind by a Chinese rocket may crash to earth in the next few days and could rain down on populated areas. The wreckage reportedly has potential to land across a wide swathe of the globe. According to the Aerospace Corp, a nonprofit based in California, part of a Long March 5B rocket that China launched on July 24 will make an uncontrolled reentry around July 31.
As per the predictions of the nonprofit that gets US funding, the possible debris field includes much of the United States and Africa, Australia, Brazil, India and Southeast Asia. “Due to the uncontrolled nature of its descent, there is a non-zero probability of the surviving debris landing in a populated area — over 88% of the world’s population lives under the reentry’s potential debris footprint,” the Aerospace Corp said in a statement. “A reentry of this size will not burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere, and the general rule of thumb is that 20%–40%of the mass of a large object will reach the ground, though it depends on the design of the object,” it added.
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Legend for #reentry prediction map ⬇ pic.twitter.com/pejwkq4UTh
— The Aerospace Corporation (@AerospaceCorp) July 26, 2022
China, however, has dismissed the concern over the re-entry of wreckages and its impact, with state-backed media claiming that the warnings are just “sour grapes” from people resentful of the country’s development as a space power.
“The US is running out of ways to stop China’s development in the aerospace sector, so smears and defamation became the only things left for it,” Global Times newspaper reported, citing an expert.
Meanwhile, China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Wednesday that Beijing is closely following the reentry of the booster from this week’s launch.
There are at least two other instances of spent Chinese rockets falling back to Earth in uncontrolled reentries, which caused global concerns. Last time, in May 2021, pieces of another Long March rocket landed in the Indian Ocean, which prompted concern that the Chinese space agency might had lost control of it. “It is clear that China is failing to meet responsible standards regarding space debris,” NASA administrator Bill Nelson had said at the time.