Chinese rocket: Lagos, New York named among cities wia big Chinese rocket segment fit fall as e make its way to land for Earth

Chinese rocket: Lagos, New York named among cities wia big Chinese rocket segment fit fall as e make its way to land for Earth

By Jonathan Amos

BBC Science Correspondent

8 May 2021

Wia dis foto come from, Getty Images Wetin we call dis foto, Dem launch di rocket to carry one Chinese space station section into orbit

Parts from one Chinese rocket dey expected to fall back to Earth for one uncontrolled re-entry dis weekend.

Dem use di main segment from di Long March-5b vehicle to launch di first module of China new space station last month.

At 18 tonnes, na one of di largest items for decades wey go get undirected dive into di atmosphere.

Di US on Thursday tok say dem dey watch di path of di object but currently dem no get plans to shoot am down.

“We dey hopeful say e go land for place wia e no go harm anybody,” US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin tok. “Hopefully for di ocean, or someplace like dat.”

Various space debris modelling experts dey point to late Saturday or early Sunday (GMT) as di likely moment of re-entry.

However, such projections no really dey certain.

Originally injected into one elliptical orbit approximately 160km by 375km above Earth surface on 29 April, di Long March-5b core stage don dey lose height ever since.

Just how quickly di core orbit go continue to decay go depend on di density of air wey e go encounter for altitude and di amount of drag wey e produces

Dis details no too dey clear.

Wetin go happun wen di rocket land earth?

Most of di vehicle suppose burn up wen e make im final plunge through di atmosphere, although e dey always get possibility say metals wit high melting points, and other resistant materials, fit survive to di surface.

When one similar core stage return to Earth one year ago, dem see some pipe wey dem assume to be from di rocket for ground for Ivory Coast, Africa.

Di chances say anyone go dey hit by one piece of space junk dey very small, not least because so much of di Earth surface dey covered by ocean, and because dat part wey be land include plenti areas wey pipo no dey live.

Di zone of potential fall in dis case dey restricted still sake of di trajectory of di rocket stage.

E dey move on one inclination to di equator of about 41.5 degrees.

Dis one mean say e dey possible already to exclude say any debris fit fall further north than approximately 41.5 degrees North latitude and further south than 41.5 degrees South latitude.

See foto of di China Rocket

Wetin China tok?

China don vex as pipo suggest say dem dey negligent to allow di uncontrolled return of so large an object.

Commentary for di konti media don describe Western reports about di potential hazards involved as “hype” and predict say di debris go likely fall somewhere for international waters.

Di Global Times quote aerospace expert Song Zhongping wey add say China space monitoring network go keep a close watch and take necessary measures in case any damage occur.

But di respected cataloguer of space activity, Jonathan McDowell from di Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, US, say di situation reflect poorly on China.

“We see am as negligence,” he tell BBC News.

“Dis na di second launch of dis rocket; di debris for Ivory Coast last year na from di previous launch, i.e. a basically identical rocket.

“Dis two incidents [di one now and di Ivory Coast one] na di two largest objects deliberately left to re-enter uncontrolled since Skylab for 1979.”