Chinese Rocket to Make Uncontrolled Re-Entry, ‘Could Land on Inhabited Area’

Chinese Rocket to Make Uncontrolled Re-Entry, ‘Could Land on Inhabited Area’


China used an immense Long March-5B rocket last week to boost the living quarters module of its planned space station into orbit. The 21-ton body of the rocket is now whipping around the Earth in an uncontrolled orbit and could fall to Earth within the next few days, potentially raining debris on an inhabited area.

Space News reported soon after last Wednesday’s launch that the Tianhe space station module appears to have achieved orbit as planned, but the core stage of the Long March-5B rocket also made orbit — unlike most expendable launch vehicles, which are designed to fall back to Earth and land in a pre-arranged re-entry zone.

“There had been speculation that the Long March 5B core would perform an active maneuver to deorbit itself, but that appears not to have happened,” Space News reported, noting Chinese officials are characteristically secretive and evasive about what was

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