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Chinese missile debris for uncontrolled re-entry: What happened last time



The nearly 100-foot core of China’s Long March 5B missile is likely to make an uncontrolled re-entry at an unknown time in the coming days.

The spacecraft took off in low Earth orbit from the center of Wenchang in Hainan on Thursday, carrying the Tianhe module for the first permanent space station in the country.

CHINESE ROCKET FOR UNCONTROLLED INTRODUCTION; CLEAR WHERE DEBRIS WILL HIT: REPORT

However, this is not the first time that one of the Chinese missiles has made an uncontrolled descent.

Last May, debris from the same rocket rained down at least two villages off the coast of Côte d’Ivoire. In this case, the rocket ̵

1; which weighs more than 1.8 million pounds when fully loaded – carried an experimental capsule of the crew, intended for potential future lunar missions.

In this photo, published by the Chinese Xinhua News Agency, a Long 5B rocket carrying a Chinese space station module rises from the launch site of the Wenchang spacecraft in Wenchang in southern China's Hainan Province on Thursday, April 29, 2021. China launched a major module on Thursday for its first permanent space station, which will host long-term astronauts.  (Jin Livang / Xinhua via AP)

In this photo, published by the Chinese Xinhua News Agency, a Long 5B rocket carrying a Chinese space station module rises from the launch site of the Wenchang spacecraft in Wenchang in southern China’s Hainan Province on Thursday, April 29, 2021. China launched a major module on Thursday for its first permanent space station, which will host long-term astronauts. (Jin Livang / Xinhua via AP)

The rocket returned over the Atlantic Ocean at 11:33 a.m. ET on Monday, May 11, 2020.

The photos showed long metal rods that reportedly damaged several buildings in Côte d’Ivoire, although no casualties were reported.

A local infrasound station also recorded what appeared to be debris from rockets moving through the atmosphere at supersonic speeds and hitting the ground.

The Verge reports that locals heard a sound boom and saw flashes and falling debris at the same time as the rocket was about to pass over.

Newsweek reported that part of the rocket fell into the water near West Africa after spending a week in low Earth orbit.

At the time, the US Air Force’s 18th Space Squadron said the rocket had flown directly over major US cities – including Los Angeles and New York – on its way down.

It was the largest uncontrolled landing site since the Soviet Union’s 43-ton Salyut-7 space station landed in Argentina in 1991.

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The only debris larger than the Salyut-7 space station is NASA’s nearly 100-ton Skylab, which fell on a small Australian city in 1979.

Remarkably, a Soviet nuclear-powered satellite that regenerated the atmosphere over northern Canada in 1978 resulted in a $ 3,000,000 fine for cleaning it over the tundra.

Rocket manufacturers usually report falling rocket debris.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.




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