WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Another out-of-control Chinese rocket is plummeting toward Earth.
- Debris from the 21-ton Long March 5B rocket could fail to burn up in the atmosphere, leading to concerns that it could smash into a populated area.
- Last year, one of China’s rockets broke up on re-entry above the Indian Ocean.
Another out-of-control Chinese rocket, which was launched to space on Sunday, is plummeting toward Earth sparking concerns.
Experts fear that the debris of a 21-ton Long March 5B rocket may fail to burn up as it makes its re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. It could plummet to an uncertain location and at a great speed.
The Long March 5B was carrying a solar-powered new lab as an addition to China’s Tiangong Space Station.
The chances of rocket debris hitting a populated area are very low, but experts still believe that China is taking an unnecessary risk — a risk that’s increased in recent years.
Last year, China’s spacecraft showered debris over the Indian Ocean near the Maldives.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, at the time, accused China of ‘failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris,’ including lowering risks during re-entry and being transparent about operations.
Nelson released a statement saying: “Spacefaring nations must minimize the risks to people and property on Earth of re-entries of space objects and maximize transparency regarding those operations. It is clear that China is failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris.”
According to scientists, the problem with China’s rockets can be rooted in the country’s risky design of its launch process.
Discarded rocket stages typically re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere soon after launch, normally over water, and don’t soar into orbit. The Long March 5B rocket, however, goes into orbit.
China has denied any irresponsibility, with its Foreign Ministry saying the possibility of damage to anything or anyone on the land is ‘extremely low’.
In 2020, debris from the first Long March 5B fell on Ivory Coast, causing damage to several buildings. No one was reportedly injured.
Source: Daily Mail