As announced before the weekend, debris from a large and recently launched Chinese rocket was expected to return to Earth in an uncontrolled re-entry.
Parts of China’s CZ5B rocket were filmed entering Earth’s orbit in the sky above Malaysia. As announced before the weekend, the remains of a large and recently launched Chinese rocket were expected to return to Earth in an uncontrolled re-entry.
It’s unclear at the moment if any pieces of the 25-ton Long March 5 rocket stage hit populated areas, reports Space.com.
Chinese rocket booster fell to Earth on Saturday afternoon, US Space Command confirmed; The space junk plunged into the atmosphere above the United States, Dailymail reports.
South America and Southeast Asia, including parts of China itself, were mentioned as potential areas for decline. However, most of the potential re-entry zone is over the open ocean.
Since the rocket races around Earth’s orbit every 90 minutes, it is impossible to predict the exact point at which it will fall from the sky.
— Nazri sulaiman (@nazriacai) July 30, 2022
The falling space junk is the 23-tonne booster stage of the Long March 5B-I3 rocket – China’s most powerful – which was launched on July 24 to deliver the Venetian module to China’s Tiangong space station. The group predicts the rocket stage will exit orbit between 12:24 and 2:24 p.m. on Saturday, which is a window large enough for the debris to circle Earth approximately 1.3 times.
The Western Hemisphere will be in daylight during that re-entry window, meaning you’re unlikely to see falling debris. But the booster could go dark along a track that crosses Indonesia and the Philippines.
As space debris gets closer to Earth, predictions of when it will hit become more accurate.
- The general rule is that 20 to 40 percent of the mass of a large object will reach the ground, although this depends on the design of the object – said the Aerospace Corporation.
The US Space Command continues to monitor the fall of the Chinese missile to Earth, and the exact point of entry into the atmosphere will be known only hours before it happens.