What's going on with China's falling rocket? 2 days ago


The debris is "under close watch" and is likely to fall back to earth in global waters, the Post quoted a source with knowledge of China's space programme. "It strew pieces of metal over about 100 miles worth of land".

On April 29, the rocket successfully placed part of China's first space station into orbit.

He added that the rocket can be seen with the naked eye, in the form of a bright dot running between the stars, noting that the date of its passage was determined according to the maps published by the U.S. space agency NASA and the Pentagon.

"US Space Command is aware of and tracking the location of the Chinese Long March 5B in space, but its exact entry point into the Earth's atmosphere can not be pinpointed until within hours of its re-entry, which is expected around May 8", a statement from the Pentagon's US Space Command read.

Experts are unsure where the rocket will land due to the speed in which it is moving around Earth. Several other agencies are also tracking its movement. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said there are no plans to try to shoot down the rocket, which would only create more debris.

White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said Wednesday the Biden administration continues to monitor the debris and added "we want to work with the worldwide community to promote leadership and responsible space behaviors".

Song Zhongping, a former instructor of the Chinese military's rocket corps, said the debris would fall in a safe place such as worldwide waters or an uninhabited part of the country. Citing local reports, SpaceNews said at the time that pieces of debris as long as 12 meters (39 feet) landed in Cote d'Ivoire.

A huge mass of space waste is about to return to Earth's atmosphere without control and threatens to throw debris to a number of cities around the world in the coming days.

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According to CBS News' William Harwood, "a large portion of the rocket will burn up in the atmosphere and the odds of anyone or any specific community getting hit by surviving debris are remote".

"Why is the Chinese missile falling without control is not clear at all", Harwood said.

"It's in the shared interests of all nations to act responsibly in space, to ensure the safety, stability, security and long term sustainability of outer space activities", Psaki said. In most cases, satellites and space debris that re-enter the atmosphere tend to burn up before striking Earth or are directed so they crash in the ocean, far from land.

The only space station now in orbit is the International Space Station, from which China is excluded.

China is ready to work with other countries on safety issues related to space, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a regular briefing Thursday in Beijing when asked about the rocket.

Likewise, the wreck fell over Western Australia when it re-entered Skylab in 1978, but no injuries were reported.

Possible re-entry locations lie anywhere along the blue and yellow ground track.