Chinese rocket expected to reenter

Chinese rocket expected to reenter

Chinese rocket expected to reenter

A Chinese rocket that is out of control is set to re-enter Earth's atmosphere this weekend, bringing a final wave of concern before its debris makes an impact somewhere on Earth.

Don Pollacco, a physics professor at the England's University of Warwick, said, "It will hit the atmosphere, bounce around a bit and it's correct to say most of the planet is covered by water, so that's where it will likely land".

Space-Track, using USA military data, tweeted that the window for re-entry is now predicted to be 0104-0304 GMT Sunday, but cautioned that the uncertainty about the timing made the location hard to pinpoint.

The rocket, said CNN worldwide correspondent Will Ripley, weighs 22 tons and is the size of ten-story building, "about a fifth the size of the Statue of Liberty, hurtling around the Earth as we speak".

However China's foreign ministry said most of the rocket debris was expected to burn up on re-entry, and it was highly unlikely to cause any harm.

"The U.S. Space Command on Saturday estimated re-entry would occur at 0204 GMT on Sunday, plus or minus one hour, while the Center for Orbital Reentry and Debris Studies (CORDS) at Aerospace Corporation, a U.S. federally funded space-focused research and development center, updated its prediction to four hours either side of 0330 GMT on Sunday", Reuters reported.

"This is hard to predict and not an exact measurement", Space-Track wrote on Twitter.

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The rocket successfully launched the Tianhe module last week, which will become the living quarters of the future Chinese Space Station (CSS).

A large segment of China's Long March-5B rocket, pictured here during launch on April 29, 2021, is expected to make an uncontrolled re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere.

The Long March launched last week was the second deployment of the 5B variant since its maiden flight in May previous year.

The 10-story, 23-ton piece of booster rocket will plummet back to Earth a week after it was launched by the Chinese government. In late April, authorities in the city of Shiyan, in Hubei Province, issued a notice to people in the surrounding county to prepare for evacuation as parts were expected to land in the area.

"The empty rocket body is now in an elliptical orbit around Earth, where it is being dragged toward an uncontrolled re-entry".

Last year, debris from another Long March rocket fell on villages in the Ivory Coast, causing structural damage but no injuries or deaths.

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