Out-of-Control China Rocket Finally Lands In Indian Ocean
The Chinese rocket, Long March 5B, which took off from Wenchang Space Launch Centre on April 29 to convey Tianhe – China’s future space station’s first module – into orbit, has finally landed
It was reported to have re-entered the atmosphere at about 3.24 GMT, with majority of its parts destroyed at that point, Chinese state media reported.
The impact point was supposed to be somewhere around southwest of India and Sri Lanka.
Although, the landing time pinpointed was quite close, the possible landing point/location had not be certain not until the last minutes of the rocket return.
At a point, it was believed that the parts could land as far north as Madrid, Beijing or New York and as far south as New Zealand and Chile. Some even having fear these debris might hit some parts of West Africa – places like most populous city in Nigeria, Lagos and the country’s capital city, Abuja.
Well, most of the part of the Earth’s surface is occupied by water so the probability of the rocket component falling on land pose to be low, and even lower when comparing to landing on people, experts revealed.
Notwithstanding, the doubt over the condition of the rocket and the uncertainty of China’s location forecasts had gotten many people gazing fearfully towards the sky while the expected landing was getting closer.
This has given rise to some criticisms of the way China is handling of the situation. The United States Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, said: “There ought be a requirements of operating in a safe, careful and attentive mod and ensuring that those kinds of things are taken into consideration as operations are being planned and conducted .”
Jonathan McDowell, Harvard-based astrophysicist, made known to a news media agency that, since some parts of NASA space station Skylab had fallen from orbit in 1979 and dropped in Australia, majority of the countries have aligned their spacecraft design to prevent entries that can’t be controlled.
“It actually portrays the designers of Chinese rocket to be lazy that they never addressed this,” he said.
Chinese state media had tried to suppress people’s fear on the likelihood of the rocket causing damage, and saying it wasn’t worth fidgeting about, and suggesting it would land somewhere in the ocean.
Some pieces of the first Long March, which was launched in 2020, actually landed in Ivory Coast, destroying several buildings, however no injuries recorded.
The rocket launch actually is one of China’s great space programme she is ambitious about. Beijing is planning not less than 10 similar launches to convey equipment into the orbit.