DA Chinese rocket’s ebris will crash to Earth in the following days. The potential for debris to fall across large swathes of the earth is possible.
The Aerospace Corp. is a California nonprofit that receives U.S. funding. It will reenter uncontrolled from a Long March 5B China rocket launched on July 24, according to Aerospace Corp.
The possible debris field includes much of the US, as well as Africa, Australia, Brazil, India and Southeast Asia, according to Aerospace’s predictions.
Concern over the reentry and the impact it could have is being dismissed by China, however, with state-backed media saying 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,” the Global Times newspaper reported, citing Song Zhongping, a television commentator who closely follows China’s space program.
“The US and Western media deliberately exaggerate and exaggerate the ‘loss-of-control’ of the Chinese rocket debris and the probability of personal injury caused by the rocket debris, obviously with bad intentions,” Shanghai-based news site Guancha.cn said Tuesday.
The descent of the booster, which weighs 23 metric tons (25.4 tons), would be part of what critics say is a series of uncontrolled crashes that highlights the risks of China’s escalating space race with the US.
“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,” Aerospace said Tuesday.
A piece of a Long March rocket fell into the Indian Ocean in May 2021. It raised concern about the Chinese space agency losing control.
“It is clear that China is failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said that month. “It is critical that China and all space faring nations and commercial entities act responsibly and transparently in space to ensure the safety, stability, security, and long-term sustainability of outer space activities.”
China’s most recent launch, which sent a module to the nation’s space station, included a booster to put the spacecraft into orbit. That booster is now “dead” and beyond the control of the Chinese space agency, said Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Center for Astrophysics, which is operated by Harvard University and the Smithsonian Institution.
“The Chinese are right that the best bet is that it will fall in the ocean,” he said, although “there are plenty of populated areas” within the rocket booster’s range.
McDowell stated that more debris could fall on Earth in the future, as China launches another Long March rocket for space.
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