Saturday, May 8, 2021

Chinese rocket debris to cause limited damage, expert predicts

Global News shows that the remnants of China's largest rocket launched last week are expected to plunge back through the atmosphere - this will be dropping the equivalent of 3 pickup trucks or a small plane late Saturday or early Sunday, an expert said. 

Long March 5B, the Chinese rocket, is equivalent in size to an unloaded semi-truck and weighs roughly 22 tons (as much as nine tons of material) and is expected to survive, Ted Muelhaupt, principal director of The Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies (Cords) at the Aerospace Corporation, said.

The space debris will likely fall into the ocean. However, China has had 2 uncontrolled re-entries in the space of a year.

"There was enough reaction to the last one last May - most people thought they (China) would have learned their lesson and not done it again, but apparently they have," Muelhaupt said.

The Long March 5B is one of the largest pieces of space debris to return to Earth. The core stage of the first Long March 5B that returned to Earth last year weighed nearly 20 tons, surpassed only by debris from the Columbia space shuttle in 2003, the Soviet Union's Salyut 7 space station in 1991, and NASA's Skylab in 1979.

The so-called Long March 5 (LM-5; Chinese: 长征五号 ) is also known as Chang Zheng 5 (CZ-5). This is a Chinese heavy-lift launch vehicle developed by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT). It is the first Chinese launch vehicle designed to use exclusively non-hypergolic liquid propellants. It is the 5th iteration of the Long March rocket family, named for the Chinese Red Army's 1934-35 Long March, during the Chinese Civil War.

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