CHINESE ROCKET DEBRIS: Whose Head Will This Space Trash Drop On?

Written by Wes Walker on May 4, 2021

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Twenty-One Tons of overhead trash that was supposed to drop safely into the ocean, might threaten a number of populated cities.

How ironic that the ‘Long March’ B rocket (a name also borrowed by official Communist subversion strategies) poses a different kind of existential threat to the public.

The rocket is used by China in setting satellites into Low Earth Orbit. The satellite it was sending up was the first stage of their own space station. Their celebrations might be severely dampened depending on what happens to the rocket that put it there.

There had been speculation that the Long March 5B core would perform an active maneuver to deorbit itself, but that appears not to have happened. At a Wenchang press conference Thursday, Wang Jue, Commander-in-Chief of Long March 5B launch vehicle, stated (Chinese) that this second Long March 5B had seen improvements over the first launch, but a possible deorbit maneuver was not stated.

Ground based radars used by the U.S. military to track spacecraft and other objects in space have detected an object and catalogued it as the Long March 5B rocket body. Now designated 2021-035B, the roughly 30-meter-long, five-meter-wide Long March 5 core stage is in a 170 by 372-kilometer altitude orbit traveling at more than seven kilometers per second.

A possible amateur ground observation of the rocket core showing regular flashes suggests that it is tumbling and thus not under control. — SpaceNews

So we’ve got twenty-one tons of space junk tumbling uncontrolled through space in a decaying orbit above our heads?

So, let’s deal with the question we’re all wondering in a situation like this: where’s it going to land?

Seeing as it’s uncontrolled, the exact vectors are tough to predict. But the current orbit has it ‘narrowed down’, if you can call it that.

The Long March 5B core stage’s orbital inclination of 41.5 degrees means the rocket body passes a little farther north than New York, Madrid and Beijing and as far south as southern Chile and Wellington, New Zealand, and could make its reentry at any point within this area.

The most likely event will see any debris surviving the intense heat of reentry falling into the oceans or uninhabited areas, but the risk remains of damage to people or property.

North of New York, and South of Chile or New Zealand. Or any point in between.

That’s a great help. Thanks.

Let’s all hope the friction shreds this thing into a hundred thousand smaller parts that mostly burn up harmlessly on reentry.

‘Chances are’ it won’t hit a population center. But somehow, trusting to dumb luck is not a great consolation.

Do better, China.