Ouch! Watch out! Our sh*t falling from the sky...

Discussion in 'Serious Discussion' started by gorski, May 4, 2021.

  1. gorski

    gorski MDL Guru

    Oct 21, 2009
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    https://www.theguardian.com/science/2021/may/04/out-of-control-chinese-rocket-tumbling-to-earth

    Since the weekend it has dropped nearly 80km in altitude and SpaceNews reported that amateur ground observations showed it was tumbling and not under control. This, and its speed, makes it impossible to predict where it will land when Earth’s atmosphere eventually drags it down, though McDowell said the most likely outcome is that it will fall into the sea, as the ocean covers about 71% of the planet.

    But McDowell says some pieces of the rocket will survive re-entry and that it would be the “equivalent of a small plane crash scattered over 100 miles”.

    Since 1990 nothing over 10 tonnes has been deliberately left in orbit to re-enter uncontrolled. The Long March 5B core stage is thought to be about 21 tonnes.

    “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.

    Based on its current orbit the rocket is passing over Earth as far north as New York, Madrid and Beijing and as far south as southern Chile and Wellington, New Zealand, and could make its re-entry at any point within this area.

    Given its velocity, a small change in its path could make a big difference to where it ends up. It’s expected to return to Earth on 10 May, plus or minus two days.

    McDowell said once it’s clear the day it is returning to Earth, experts could predict its landing time within a six-hour window.
     
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