Tech UPTechnologyThe remains of the Chinese rocket land in the...

The remains of the Chinese rocket land in the Indian Ocean

There was a lot of restlessness in the world (and it has been a very viral topic on social networks) since it became known that it was unknown when and where the out-of-control Chinese rocket would land upon its return to Earth. According to the China Bureau of Manned Space Engineering, the 30-meter-long Long March 5B rocket re-entered the atmosphere at 2:24 UTC on May 9, at 72.47º east, 2.65º north, placing it at about 300 kilometers southwest of Malé, the capital of Maldives, but without causing material or human damage.

The possibility was small, but existent

Fortunately, the wreckage of the Chinese rocket hurtling back toward Earth crashed into the Indian Ocean, alleviating global concern that it would land on an inhabited area. Although the possibility was quite small, it was a plausible scenario that the debris fell on inhabited areas, since the landing in oceanic waters was based on chance rather than good management.

Satellites, rockets, and pieces of space junk return to Earth frequently. However , those weighing less than 10 tons are considered safe as they burn in the atmosphere. This particular case was noteworthy because the rocket stage weighed approximately 23 tons.

Most of the rocket, one of the largest elements in decades to have a non-atmospheric dive , landed in the Indian Ocean.

The Chinese space program has since faced much criticism. The fact that reentry has been totally uncontrolled has not gone unnoticed by many nations, such as the United States, which NASA administrator Bill Nelson has stated that: “It is clear that China is not meeting responsible standards regarding to your space debris. It is critical that China and all nations and commercial entities with space travel act responsibly and transparently in space to ensure the security, stability and long-term sustainability of space activities. “

China launched the Long March 5B at the end of April as part of its ambitious project to create its own space station, to be called Tiangong, which will permanently house three crew members.

The rocket was used to launch the first module of the Space Station, and nearly a dozen more launches are planned over the next 18 months until Tiangong Station is operational in late 2022, so we may need to get used to keeping an eye out for space debris; especially considering that the fact that the remains of the rocket have fallen out of control has not been an unforeseen event. China decided not to turn on the rocket’s motor so that it could go out of orbit and land in an unoccupied area. The most unusual thing is that it is not the first time this has happened. For most experts, such as Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, it is “reckless” action.

With most of the Earth’s surface covered in water, the odds of it hitting a populated area of land were low and those of injuries even minor, but uncertainty about the rocket’s orbital decay and China’s inability to issue guarantees solid until the reentry of the rocket, only fueled general anxiety.

“Nations with space travel should minimize the risks to people and property on Earth from reentry of space objects and maximize transparency regarding those operations,” Nelson concluded.



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