currently expected at 4.52 on Sunday 9 May, with a margin of uncertainty of 6 hours, the re-entry into the atmosphere of the second stage of the Chinese Long March 5B rocket. This is indicated by the most up-to-date data from the North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad). The margin of uncertainty has been reduced compared to 9 hours yesterday, but still too large to determine where the return will take place. At the moment central-southern Italy is still part of the vast area on which the return could take place and which includes the whole of Africa, southern Asia, the Pacific Ocean, Australia, part of North America, America central and part of South America. New calculations expected in the next few hours will make it possible to further reduce the margin of uncertainty regarding the time and place of the return. (Paolo Virtuani).
The Long March rocket is falling to Earth. US-China space dispute
On April 29th, thousands of spectators watched the sky over the Chinese island of Hainan as the rocket rocket Long March 5B took off to bring the first element of the Tiangong space station (Celestial Palace) into orbit. Sparks and festive fluttering of red flags.
Between this night and Sunday morning, many inhabitants of the Earth, including Italians, scrutinize the sky fearing that a debris of the second stage of the vector falls on their heads. A danger that experts consider statistically remote. The bulkier segment of the Changzheng 5B (as the Long March is called in Chinese) will re-enter in the atmosphere earth at very high speed, after having successfully completed the mission. The problem is that it is an uncontrolled return. The Pentagon added a touch of drama: The trajectory followed by the US Space Command, we have the ability to do many things, but there is no plan to bring it down.
Return uncontrolled it means that Chinese technicians cannot direct the space remnant to a particular area. The rocket stage, 30 meters high, 5 meters in diameter, weighed 18 tons at launch, what remains of it will disintegrate upon impact with the atmosphere and most of it will burn; but there is always possibility that some metal fragments designed to withstand very high temperatures survive.
Last year, when another Long March finished its mission, after six days in the Ivory Coast, wreckage was recovered. This time the area of the possible rain of debris was indicated by analysts at Aerospace Corporation between the latitude of 41.5 degrees North and 41.5 degrees South. Also includes Italy southern. Impossible to predict the point of potential impact, as space debris travels at 18,000 miles per hour.
Even the crucial moment uncertain: after one in the morning of Sunday, European time, to the nearest 9 hours. The Italian Civil Protection believes that the risk for our territory south of Naples is very low, but cannot be excluded and the Executive Committee meetings follow one another to circumscribe the area of any emergency. China rushes to explore the universe, from the Moon to Mars, but relapses in the lack of control of space debris. I think they are negligenti and irresponsible, says Harvard astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell. The scientist explains that rockets usually restart their engines after releasing their loads into orbit and thus can be guided into a safe fallout: towards deserts or oceans. Beijing retorts that the West seeks any pretext for defame China and recalls that in March debris from the US SpaceX Falcon 9 ended up in Washington State. The Changzheng 5B brought into orbit Tianhe (Celestial Harmony): The first of the three modules of the Chinese Tiangong Space Station. The assembly operation requires another 10 launches by 2022. We will have to scan the sky with apprehension another 10 times, waiting for the Chinese Heavenly Palace to be completed. On April 29, Xi Jinping sent this message to scientists Chinese Spacecraft: I hope that you will vigorously carry forward the “Spirit of Two Bombs and One Satellite”, contributing to the construction of a modern socialist country !. The Spirit of Two Bombs and One Satellite is the name given to the Chinese nuclear, missile and space project by Mao in the 1950s. The expression relaunched by Xi is a sign of the new China-United States challenge. Even on ours test.