The missile The Long March 5 b From the Chinese space agency it fell into the Indian Ocean at 5.24 Spanish peninsula time, as reported by the Chinese Space Authority. The debris that had withstood brutal friction with the atmosphere shattered upon its return to land at sea near India and Sri Lanka. The rocket, which took off on April 28, has fallen uncontrollably since it fulfilled its mission to put the future Chinese space station into orbit. Tianhe. In recent days, all living things that track space objects have followed in detail the evolution of their fall in an effort to indicate the most likely path and moment when they fall on the planet’s surface. Ultimately, most of the remains disintegrated upon entering the atmosphere, and the remainder sank into the ocean. US Space Command Confirmed re-entry of the missile In the Arabian Peninsula, which coincides with the necessary path of fall where China is pointing, although it indicates that it is not known whether the debris fell at sea or on land.
“It is clear that China does not meet the responsible standards regarding space debris.”
Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator
NASA CEO Bill Nelson announced Permit In which he strongly criticized China’s management of these missiles: “It is clear that China does not adhere to responsible standards with regard to space debris.” “It is extremely important for China and all countries and commercial entities that have flights into space to act responsibly and transparently in space to ensure the security, stability and sustainability of outer space activities in the long term,” he added.
The Latest accounts From European authorities, early Saturday night in Spain, they indicated that the missile would fall to the ground in the early morning from Saturday to Sunday around 4:30 PM ET, with a margin of error of more than two hours before and after that. Nowadays. The estimate at the time from the European Union’s space monitoring project (SST) is that it could fall into the sea near the coast of Australia. “But the uncertainty is still very high, and the probability of it falling would not be twice as high elsewhere,” warned Jorge Lumba, head of the CDTI space program and SST coordinator. At midnight, both Russian agency Roscosmos The US Department of Defense also indicated that the Iberian Peninsula will be in full swing Input path From the remains and what could happen off the coast of northern Portugal.
The protocol for these cases indicates that after the estimated time of fall, a scan is performed with three radars to ensure that they do not continue to spin and that the result is reached. The United States is using an infrared satellite to track the tremendous energy these debris releases upon colliding with the atmosphere and validate the point of entry.
From the start of this incident, it had always been thought that the most likely thing was to fall into the oceans, but there was the least chance that the ship’s pieces would rain down on Spain. On one of its multiple orbits, since it orbits the planet every 90 minutes, Spanish astronomers from the Bolides and Meteorites Research Network were able to capture its path from Seville. in the video Notice how the object glows intermittently as it reflects light while rotating uncontrollably.
The margin for determining the point of fall was very wide, since calculations ensured that the missile (the parts supporting friction with the atmosphere) could fall between parallels 40 ° N and 40 ° S: from Madrid, Beijing or New York, to from the north or Cape Town ( South Africa) or Buenos Aires or Santiago de Chile to the south. When it fell to Earth, it was flying at 28,000 kilometers per hour, orbiting itself in an elliptical orbit, which made it difficult to determine the point of collision with the atmosphere, at an altitude of about 80 kilometers.
China asserted that it was “extremely unlikely” that the missile remnants caused damage when it fell and was betting that it would disintegrate upon hitting the atmosphere, as it could cause temperatures between 3,000 and 10,000 degrees, depending on the angle of entry, shape, or type Subject. “Most of the debris from the missile will be disintegrated and destroyed during its return to the atmosphere,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin.
The Chinese Space Agency has come under widespread criticism for its willful negligence in managing these missiles. Although there are no international regulations governing them, the usual practice is to design control systems for returning to Earth, such as drives that allow a course for objects weighing more than five tons. And the The Long March 5 b It weighed more than 20 tons. In May 2020, China fired a double-barreled missile on it and part of its remnants (some big sizeIt fell on the Ivory Coast, prompting complaints From the United States of America.
Update 9.15h: Confirmation from US Space Command and reaction from NASA included.