Massive Chinese Rocket In "Uncontrolled Descent" Expected To Crash Into Earth In Days

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Jul 29, 2022 - 01:30 AM

China's largest rocket, the Long March 5B that delivered the Wentian laboratory module to the new space station, is expected to deorbit and fall back to Earth. 

The Aerospace Corporation's Center for Orbital Reentry and Debris Studies (CORDS) said the Long March 5B is set for an uncontrolled descent into Earth's atmosphere on Sunday (31 Jul 2022 00:24 UTC ± 16 hours). 

CORDS said the 10-story tall, 20-ton rocket is "now in an elliptical orbit around Earth where it is being dragged toward an uncontrolled reentry." 

"We estimate, based on previous experience, that somewhere between four, five to nine tons, depending on exactly how it's configured, will survive reentry.

"When it comes down, it will certainly exceed the 1-in-10,000 (risk of injury to people on Earth) threshold that is the generally accepted guideline," Ted Muelhaupt of the Aerospace Corporation in a press conference Wednesday. 

The map shows the prediction window of where the rocket could land along the blue or yellow paths. CORDS noted "the yellow satellite icon indicating the center of the reentry window." 

This isn't the first time a Long March 5B deorbited and crashed back to Earth. In May 2020, parts of a Chinese rocket crashed into an African village.

Then again, in May 2021, another one splashed down in the Indian Ocean. 

Why should people be looking up at the sky this weekend?

US Space Command warned the track of the Chinese rocket "cannot be pinpointed until within hours of its reentry."