Chinas Space Debris is Falling out of Orbit this Weekend, Where will it Land?

"Chinese Rockets & Space Vehicles" by Gary Lee Todd, Ph.D. is marked with CC0 1.0

When Elon Musks Space X launches rockets, the booster (first stage) comes back and lands on the pad or on a barge out at sea. Other rocket companies are yet to reach that level of advancement, and so the first stage crashes back to earth in a safe location. The Chinese however, seem to disregard the ‘safe’ part, and simply let the rocket fall with no regard for safety.

“File:Falcon Heavy Side Boosters landing on LZ1 and LZ2 – 2018 (25254688767).jpg” by SpaceX is marked with CC0 1.0

The first stage of a Chinese rocket is set to plunge back to earth this weekend and there is speculation as to where it will land.= “The large Chinese rocket that is out of control and set to reenter Earth’s atmosphere this weekend has brought about an alarming but not unprecedented situation,” reported CNN.

Expert Jonathan McDowell says:

“I don’t think people should take precautions. The risk that there will be some damage or that it would hit someone is pretty small — not negligible, it could happen — but the risk that it will hit you is incredibly tiny. And so I would not lose one second of sleep over this on a personal threat basis,” he said. “There are much bigger things to worry about.”

Defense Department spokesperson Mike Howard said: the “exact entry point into the Earth’s atmosphere” will not be determined until hours before re-entry of the first stage.

“Chinese Space Junk” by jurvetson is licensed under CC BY 2.0

McDowell explained further:

“We expect it to reenter sometime between the eighth and 10th of May. And in that two day period, it goes around the world 30 times. The thing is traveling at like 18,000 miles an hour. And so if you’re an hour out at guessing when it comes down, you’re 18,000 miles out in saying where.” 

“The rocket was used by the Chinese to launch part of their space station last week. While most space debris objects burn up in the atmosphere, the rocket’s size — 22 tons — has prompted concern that large parts could reenter and cause damage if they hit inhabited areas,” added CNN.

The Daily Wire reported:

According to The Guardian, this is not the first time China’s space program have experienced this form of scientific disaster.

“Last time they launched a Long March 5B rocket they ended up with big long rods of metal flying through the sky and damaging several buildings in the Ivory Coast,” McDowell said, adding that while “most of it burned up,” there were still “enormous pieces of metal that hit the ground.”

“We are very lucky no one was hurt,” commented McDowell.

“What’s bad is that it’s really negligent on China’s part. Things more than ten tonnes we don’t let them fall out of the sky uncontrolled deliberately,” McDowell said.