Debris from China’s rocket likely to fall in international waters

Published May 6, 2021
The Long March-5B Y2 rocket, carrying the core module of China's space station Tianhe, takes off from Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province on April 29. — Reuters
The Long March-5B Y2 rocket, carrying the core module of China's space station Tianhe, takes off from Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province on April 29. — Reuters

BEIJING: Debris from a Chinese rocket that sent part of a planned space station into orbit last week is likely to fall in international waters, China’s Global Times reported on Wednesday, amid concerns it could cause damage on re-entry to Earth.

The Long March 5B blasted off from Hainan island on April 29 carrying the Tianhe module, which contains what will become living quarters for three crew on a permanent Chinese space station.

Its point of re-entry remains unclear, but the Global Times, a tabloid published by the official People’s Daily, described reports that the rocket is “out of control” and could cause damage as “Western hype”.

The situation is “not worth panicking about”, it said, citing industry insiders.

“Most of the debris will burn up during re-entry ... leaving only a very small portion that may fall to the ground, which will potentially land on areas away from human activities or in the ocean,” Wang Yanan, chief editor of Aerospace Knowledge magazine, was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

The US Defence Department said Space Command was tracking the rocket’s location and that re-entry was expected to be around May 8.

Published in Dawn, May 6th, 2021

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