Chinese missile debris threatens to fall “uncontrollably” to the ground. Where it will strike is uncertain – but residential areas cannot be ruled out.
Update from May 8, 10:30 p.m.: Moreover, the uncontrolled fall of the Chinese missile is a cause for concern. A Langer Marsch-5B rocket launched the first unit of a new Chinese space station into space at the end of April. The main portion of the rocket then began to orbit the Earth in an irregular path and has lost altitude in an uncontrolled manner since then (see first report).
According to its own statements, the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos expects to enter the atmosphere over the Timor Sea in southern Indonesia on Sunday evening at around 1.30 am CST. The U.S. Department of Defense set the time at 1:00 a.m. on Sunday – by a plus, minus, or nine-hour margin.
According to experts, the exact location of the crash is difficult to predict. Since about 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, the subsidence is most likely at sea. However, a crash in a populated area or on a ship is not excluded.
A ton of missile segment is supposed to hit the ground at the weekend – and a collision is likely in a populated area
Update from May 7, 4:58 p.m.: The heavy part of the Chinese space rocket, which appears to fall uncontrollably towards Earth, continues to cause concern. Now the US Department of Defense is also joining the discussion on the Long March vehicle. As it became known, the Pentagon predicts that the debris, which weighs tons, will enter Earth’s atmosphere this weekend, either on Saturday or Sunday, and then shatter. However, no one knows exactly where this part will end.
The US Department of Defense said it did not want to launch a Long March missile. “We can do a lot of things.” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said, “We don’t currently have any plan to take them down.” China has confirmed that there is only a “very low” risk of damage to the ground.
The missile is scheduled to enter the atmosphere this weekend – a rash in populated areas cannot be ruled out
She said it was difficult to predict an exact crash site. “We hope he ends up in a place where no one is hurt,” Austin said on Thursday. Since about 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, the subsidence is most likely at sea. But according to experts, a crash in a populated area or on a ship cannot be ruled out. Internationally, some experts have also warned of a wreck.
On the other hand, China tried to sort things out: A foreign ministry spokesman in Beijing said on Friday that the probability of disruptions or damage “in air traffic or on the ground” was “extremely low”. The spokesman also declared that “due to the design of this missile, the majority of its components will be burned or destroyed upon re-entry into the atmosphere. The” authorities “will inform the public of developments immediately.
But in Germany, you need to be safe from rubble. The danger zone should span every part of the Earth’s surface between 41.5. North degrees and 41.5. Degrees of southern latitude. In Europe, this includes parts of Spain, Italy, and Portugal. It also includes the regions of North and South America and South Asia, as well as all of Africa and Australia. Major cities like New York, Beijing, or Hong Kong also fall into this danger zone.
Space: Part of the rocket falls “uncontrollably” toward Earth – scientists do not know where it landed
First report from May 4: BEIJING / MUNICH – Space experts warned Tuesday of an “uncontrolled” return of a 20-ton missile to Earth’s atmosphere. The background to this is China building its own space station.
The “Long March 5B” rocket launched the “Tianhe” (Celestial Harmony) base unit into space on Thursday (April 29). After launching the base unit, debris from the main body of the launcher now threatens to fall to the ground in the next few days.
Danger from space: A 20-ton “unmanageable” rocket falls to Earth
The reason is the design of the “Langer Marsch 5B”, which after takeoff can no longer be directed to fall into the sea at a predetermined point. However, it appears that where the missile fell on the ground is not entirely certain. “We don’t know where,” said astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge. German News Agency.
“In the worst case scenario, it would be like a small plane crashing but extending over hundreds of kilometers,” McDowell said. She added that since the missile is orbiting the Earth at a very high speed, it is uncertain when and where it will enter the atmosphere and partially burn there.
It also remains to be seen how many parts remain after re-entry. “But enough to cause harm,” says the astrophysicist.
Part of the missile fell to the ground – but this happened before
However, such problems are not new. The debris fell after the first flight of a viable Chinese missile in May 2020. The Ivory Coast, in West Africa, was affected. Several homes in villages were damaged. It was the largest piece to fall to Earth since Skylab in 1979. The US space agency NASA described the operation as “extremely dangerous” at the time.
“The design is negligible compared to current standards in other countries,” said McDowell, criticizing the Chinese missile. “After Skylab came back, everyone decided to avoid something like this,” the expert said. Other countries made sure that the majority of their missiles did not remain in orbit, but were placed in a trajectory so that they could fall into the sea in a targeted manner.
“China did not follow any of these approaches with the Long March 5B,” McDowell said. The missile was built in such a way that it would enter the Earth’s atmosphere again after about a week due to its gravity in a “random location”.
More Langer March 5B is also slated to be launched in the future. Another two 22-tonne units will be brought into space and attached. The station is scheduled to be completed “around 2022” and is called “Tiangong” (Heavenly Palace). (mbr / dpa)
Rubriklistenbild: © Ju Zhenhua / dpa