The West constantly expresses concern, but China is doing its best. On Monday, Beijing sent the third and final part of its own the new Tiangong space station. The Mengtian module, or “Dream of the Heavens,” brought the same large carrier rocket into Earth orbit as previous elements of the station in April 2021 and July 2022 – Long March 5B.
The Chinese missile is hovering over our heads. without control
Monday’s missile launch was no different from its predecessors and is similar to many other missile launches. Four small rocket boosters (side boosters) were thrown during takeoff, and the first stage of the main stage (the largest ever) introduced the payload into orbit and got stuck in it. It now orbits the Earth with its perihelion (the point of the orbit closest to the surface) at 165 and a peak at 281 km.
Usually, in such a situation, American or European missiles would restart their engines to lead to an orderly entry into the atmosphere and complete combustion. The largest objects (such as satellites or space stations) are forced to fall on the so-called Point Nemo, which is the farthest place in the Pacific Ocean (the International Space Station will end its life there).
China uses a different tactic. They don’t care what’s left of the missile. The 5B Long March engines can’t run again, so intentional orbit removal is out of the question. Thus, the rocket element weighing about 23 tons will orbit the Earth until the remnants of the atmosphere remaining at this altitude slow it down, resulting in an uncontrolled exit from orbit.
The official Chinese version says that uncontrolled de-orbiting of missile debris is a perfectly normal practice. The Americans say the Chinese do not meet the country’s contractual standards for space exploration. They also carefully monitor the tracks airline Space debris that China is not particularly keen on.
Where and when will the Long March missile strike?
We don’t know where it will hit exactly. Knowing its flight path, one can only determine where it will not hit. Private maps are posted on Twitter by, for example, the US-funded non-profit organization The Aerospace Corporation. These are large areas of land and water from about 42 degrees north to 42 degrees south of the equator.
Yes, it means that the Chinese missile will not hit Warsaw, Berlin, Paris or London. However, it covers a significant part of the territory of the USA, China, the Middle East, South Asia, and almost all of Australia, South America and Africa. In Europe, only Spain and southern Portugal can be reached ItaliaAnd the Greece and the islands of the Mediterranean.
However, it’s hard to say where Long March 5B will hit, because we don’t know when exactly it will re-enter the atmosphere. Estimates are constantly changing and, as always, are subject to a great deal of uncertainty. Latest predictions The Space Foundation says the de-orbiting will take place on Friday, November 4 at 13:24 – Polish time (plus/minus 4 hours).
Is the wreckage of a Chinese missile really threatening people?
Theoretically yes, but the probability of it falling into residential areas is very low. Even lower than that is the possibility that a missile will hurt or kill a person. In this regard, The Aerospace Corporation was also involved in interesting calculations. An injury to any person on this planet falls within the probability range from 1 to 1000 to 1 to 230 (strikes to the ground). The probability of infecting a particular person ranges from 1 to 10 trillion to 1 to 6 trillion times.
As stated in turn LiveScience.comHowever, these chances significantly exceed the internationally accepted risk threshold of 1 in 10,000. Moreover, the trajectory of the rocket covers the surface of the planet by almost 88%. Population.
However, Long March 5B is still more likely to simply fall into an ocean or sea. They simply occupy the largest amount of land. This was the case in May 2021 and July 2022, when the remnants of the core struck the waters of the Indian Ocean. In 2020, when a missile hit the Atlantic, some components broke off and damaged several buildings in Côte d’Ivoire.
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