A Chinese rocket crashed uncontrollably across the Indian Ocean early Sunday morning. NASA believes that this incident indicates that the Chinese have no control over their location.
On April 29, China sent a block to its last space station. After the main block was disconnected from the Long March 5B rocket, the rocket entered a path that caused it to fall to the ground.
Previous calculations suggest that it will strike between 41.5 southern latitudes and 41.4 northern latitudes, says Youngwild Linnia Andelsvik, head of space surveillance at the Norwegian Space Center.
These areas include major cities such as New York, Beijing, Mumbai and Sydney.
So there is great tension about where the ruins will end up.
Early Sunday morning we got the answer: at 4pm the rocket entered the atmosphere via the Mediterranean and the remnants of the unburned rocket ended up in the Indian Ocean.
In the aftermath of this incident, NASA has been sharply critical of Chinese space travel.
– Space nations should reduce the risk to humans and property on Earth by reintroducing space objects and increase transparency regarding these activities. NASA President Bill Nelson wrote in a statement on Sunday morning that it was clear that China had failed to meet the standards responsible for space debris.
– It is very important that China and all aerospace nations and businesses act responsibly and transparently in space to ensure the safety, stability, safety and long-term sustainability of space operations.
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VG spoke with Youngwild Linnia Andelsvik, head of space surveillance at the Norwegian Space Center on Saturday – before it became clear where the rocket would end up. Then he said:
– How much burns, what is difficult to maintain. Survival pieces are usually metal and things that don’t burn very fast, he said.
It is not uncommon for parts of a rocket to hit the Earth at such high speeds.
– What is unusual is that the largest part of the rocket comes too high and orbits. Andelswick says the first step of most European rockets is that they fall into the sea as soon as the rocket is launched.
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About 18 tons
– How big is this part of the rocket? Can it hurt anyone?
– It is estimated to be about 18 tons. Along the way, parts of it are burning. Because it is so large, some parts of it will fall to the ground.
Andelswick says large parts of the rocket will often burn out, but metal parts with a higher melting point will remain intact.
These parts can cause great damage, but – the probability is low. The largest areas where a rocket can strike are uninhabited areas or the oceans.
– How big do you think the largest pieces are?
– The rule of thumb is that 20 to 40 percent of the rocket survives through the atmosphere.
– But that doesn’t seem entirely fair. Is that so
– This is probably a calculated risk for China. They know the risk is very small.
– A terrible speed
Iver Hagon Breivik is a physicist and professor of mechanics.
He says the speed of the rocket towards Earth – a “terrible speed” measuring up to 28,000 kilometers per hour.
– He says a plane can go up to 900 kilometers per hour.
Breivik explains that the speed increases further when something falls to the ground – although the friction is somewhat reduced.
– It’s not good to land on the neighborhood side, he told VG before he knew where it would land.
This is the second time that China has launched a rocket to land parts on Earth. According to Andelsvik, the remnants of the previous rocket ended up at sea off the coast of Ivory Coast.
Jonathan McDowell, who is affiliated with the Harvard Astronomical Institute and the Smithsonian Astronomical Center, believes China is indifferent.
“It really is seen as negligence,” he told the BBC.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenpin said on Saturday that they were closely following the rocket’s movement.
– He says that this process has a very low probability of causing damage to the ground Reuters.
Correction: The previous version of this case stated in the title that 18 tons of rocket parts were likely to hit the ground tonight. The right thing to do is that parts of the 18-ton rocket are expected to hit Earth. It was changed on 09.05.21 at 00.15.