Debris from Chinese rocket likely to crash on random part of Earth this weekend

Jesse Williams

By Jesse Williams

Jesse Williams

8 May 2021

Debris from a Chinese rocket is expected to fall back to Earth this weekend experts warn.

Launched in April parts of the Long March 5B rocket carrying the first module of China’s future space station into orbit are set to crash land back on earth with the exact time and location of re-entry unknown.

The US on Thursday said it was watching the path of the object but currently had no plans to shoot it down with US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin saying, “Hopefully in the ocean, or someplace like that.”

The Chinese foreign ministry themselves said on Friday that most debris from the rocket will be burned up on re-entry, unlikely to cause any harm, playing down concerns.

However some experts are more critical of the situation like Astronomer Jonathan McDowell, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, who said the issue of a uncontrolled re-entry is one that is “only a big problem with the Long March 5B.”

“China decided they would rather use a simpler design and hope that they get lucky with the stage re-entering uncontrolled but not hurting anyone.”