A Chinese rocket in free fall that could hit our country and in particular the Central South. It is the Long March 5b rocket, which on April 29th brought into orbit the first central module of the new space station in Beijing, Tiangong ee that orbits the Earth approximately every 90 minutes. This makes it impossible to calculate the exact trajectory for ditching at sea at a predetermined point.
Rocket in free fall
Experts fear that its uncontrolled re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere, expected around May 10, may cause a shower of debris. Scientists then started with various hypotheses about what might happen. Luciano Anselmo, of the Institute of Information Science and Technologies of the National Research Council of Pisa, Isti-Cnr, recalled that “This is the second time this has happened with this version of the rocket. The first in 2020, when the fragments fell on some villages in Africa “. But given the moment, in the middle of the pandemic, the news had faded into the background. But now the situation is worrying. Astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard & Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge in the United States explained to Dpa that, in the worst case, it would be similar to a small plane crash, but with enough fragments and debris that could cause extensive damage.
The same happened in May of last year in the Ivory Coast, after only 6 days from the first flight of the Long March 5b, when it crashed, dropping debris that damaged houses and villages. That was the largest vector to crash into Earth since the US space laboratory Skylab in 1979. Impossible to calculate its reentry trajectory. On the site spacenews.com, expert Andrew Jones thinks it is likely that the rocket will land in an uninhabited place, such as the oceans, which cover 70% of our planet. Furthermore, he added that “the odds that an individual will be affected by space debris they are extremely low, estimated at 1 in several trillion. “
The reason for the launch
Beijing launched the unmanned spacecraft with the aim of bringing back the moon rocks. The rocket carrying the vehicle took off from the Wenchang Space Center on the southern island of Hainan province. Beijing’s hope is to be able to have a manned space station by 2022 and then be able to send humans to the moon. The idea is to sweep lunar rocks and soil to help scientists learn about the Moon’s origins, formation and volcanic activity on its surface. The mission was originally scheduled for 2017, but a rocket engine failure caused it to be delayed.
The alert for Central-Southern Italy
According to some calculations, however, the fall could occur in the band between 41.5 degrees in the North and 41.5 degrees in the South, and which would also include central and southern Italy, even if the orbit could undergo variations. Following the launch, the rocket stage was abandoned in orbit and nothing is known since. The only influence it receives is the brake of the atmosphere that is driving it towards the Earth. As stated by Anselmo, the launch on April 29 was perfect, but after that the rocket was abandoned in orbit and gave no more signs of life. In short, its position is not known. Now it would be behaving like a passive vehicle. The suspicion is also supported by the fact that the orbit it is describing is similar both to that traveled in 2020 by its predecessor and to that in 2018 by the prototype of the old Chinese space station. According to experts, however, it is still early to make predictions, precisely because theorbit may vary. “The return is likely in the middle of next week, with an uncertainty of a few days” , concluded the expert.