China said the debris from the April 29 launch stood somewhere between longitude 28.38 degrees to the east and latitude 34.43 degrees to the north.
The remnants of China’s largest rocket, launched last week, are expected to penetrate back into the atmosphere in the coming hours, landing somewhere around the Mediterranean Sea, according to the China Manned Space Engineering Office on Sunday.
The 18 tonnes left over from China’s Long March 5B rocket is set to also enter the earth’s atmosphere at 10.12 Beijing time (02:12 GMT), plus or minus 15 minutes, it said in a social media post, with the most made its entry also in a location of longitude 28.38 degrees east and latitude 34.43 degrees north.
China’s overseas ministry said on Friday that most of the garbage is incinerated to enter as well and not likely to cause any damage.
The U.S. Space Command estimates the intrusion will also occur at 02:11 GMT on Sunday, plus or minus an hour, while the Center for Orbital Reentry and Debris Studies (CORDS) of Aerospace Corporation, a federal research fund focused on space and center of development. , updated its prediction in two hours anywhere at 03:02 GMT with the rocket entering the Pacific.
The EU Space Surveillance and Tracking (EU SST) says the latest prediction for the time of entry also into the Long March 5B rocket body is 139 minutes anywhere from 02:32 GMT on Sunday.
The EU SST says the statistical probability of a land impact on a populated area is “low”, but says the uncontrollable nature of the object makes any predictions uncertain.
Space-Track, which reports data collected by the U.S. Space Command, estimates that debris could also infiltrate the Mediterranean Basin.
Traveling at an estimated speed of 4.8 miles (13.7km) per second, a difference of just one minute in intrusion time also translates to hundreds of miles of ground difference.
Long March 5B – consists of a main stage and four highlights – taken from the Chinese island of Hainan on April 29 along with the uninhabited Tianhe module, which has the potential to be home to a permanent space station in China.
The rocket is scheduled to be followed by 10 more missions to complete the station.
Most experts believe that the risk to humans is small.
“Because of the size of the object, there should be some remaining pieces,” said Florent Delefie, an astronomer at the Paris-PSL Observatory.
“The chances of debris landing in a residential area are slim, maybe one in a million.”
In May 2020, fragments from the first Long March 5B fell on the Ivory Coast, damaging several buildings. No injuries were reported.
Debris from Chinese rocket launches is not uncommon in China. In late April, authorities in Shiyan town, Hubei Province, issued a notice to people in the neighboring province to prepare for evacuation as parts were expected to land in the area.
“Long March 5B reentry is not uncommon because at launch, the first phase of the rocket reaches orbital speed instead of falling as far as usual practice,” Aerospace Corporation said in a blog post.
“The empty body rocket is now in an elliptical orbit around the Earth where it is being dragged toward an uncontrolled re-entry.”
The empty phase of the core has lost its height from last week, but the speed of its orbital decay remains uncertain due to unpredictable atmospheric variables.
It is one of the most abundant space debris ever returned to Earth, with experts estimating the dry mass at about 18 to 22 tons.
The main stage of the first Long March 5B that returned to Earth last year weighed nearly 20 tons, surpassing the remnants from the Columbia space shuttle in 2003, the Salyut 7 space station in the Soviet Union in 1991, and NASA’s Skylab in 1979.