Chinese rocket expected to reenter

Brenda Watkins
May 9, 2021

Pieces of a large Chinese rocket are expected to plunge back through the atmosphere this afternoon, with one tracking centre predicting it could splash down into the sea off New Zealand.

The fragments are from the Long March-5b rocket that was used to launch the first module of China's new space station last month.

The debris is in freefall and is likely to enter Earth's atmosphere in the early hours of Sunday, the USA military has predicted Beijing, China: A huge portion of a Chinese rocket is set to make an uncontrolled re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere in the weekend and the latest prediction suggest that the debris is likely to fall in a populated area.

On Friday, China's foreign ministry said most of the debris from the rocket will burn up during re-entry and is highly unlikely to cause any harm.

In a tweet on Friday, The Aerospace Corporation, a United States non-profit research firm, said its prediction for landing was eight hours on either side of 4:19 GMT on Sunday.

The U.S. Space Command on Saturday estimated re-entry would occur at 0204 GMT on Sunday, plus or minus one hour, while the Center for Orbital Reentry and Debris Studies (CORDS) at Aerospace Corporation, a U.S. federally funded space-focused research and development center, updated its prediction to four hours either side of 0330 GMT on Sunday. Scientists said the risk to humans was astronomically low, but it was not impossible for it to land in an inhabited area.

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The remnants of the Chinese Long March-5B rocket have re-entered the Earth's athmosphere, China Global Television Network reported on Sunday.

Nearly exactly a year ago, another Long March 5B rocket stage reentered the atmosphere, narrowly missing New York City before slamming into a West African village.

The rocket blasted off in April, carrying part of China's new space station, NBC quotes experts and officials.

Reports of a 12-m-long object crashing into the village of Mahounou in Cote d'Ivoire.

The debris from a Chinese rocket could hit Abuja this weekend. In late April, authorities in the city of Shiyan, Hubei Province, issued a notice to people in the surrounding county to prepare for evacuation as parts were expected to land in the area.

Its 18-tonne main segment is now in freefall and experts have said it is hard to say precisely where and when it will re-enter the atmosphere.

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