Debris From China’s Recently Launched Rocket May Fall On Earth: Report

The debris of a Chinese rocket, launched recently from Hainan province, are expected to fall on Earth at an unknown location, a report in Newsweek said. The Chinese rocket was launched into the orbit on Sunday afternoon (as per the Beijing local time) and there is currently no information about its comeback, the outlet further said.

The Long March 5B rocket lifted off from the Wenchang launch site, carrying an experiment module, a new solar-powered lab, to China’s Tiangong Space Station. Due to enormity of the package, there were fears that not all of the expelled first-stage rocket may burn up in the atmosphere, instead crash landing somewhere on the planet.

At a normal instance, once a rocket burns up all of its fuel in its first stage, the empty portion is released to reduce the additional weight, falling to Earth. Usually, these pieces burn up as they accelerate through the atmosphere.

The Wentian module weighed 23,000 kilogrammes before launch and housed a variety of research cabinets for on-orbit experiments.

The Long March 5B, too, is also enormous: it stands 176 feet tall and weighs more than 1.8 million pounds, according to Newsweek.

Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics said in a tweet that, “It will break up, but past experience shows that a bunch of 30-meter-long [100 foot] metal fragments will end up crashing into the ground at a few hundred km/hr.”

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