The government of China remains firm with the idea of building Tianhe, your own space station. That is why it dispatched a 22.5-ton module in a super rocket – about 50 meters high and 5 meters wide – into space, the largest ever developed by the Asian giant.
The launch was carried out successfully on April 29, from the Wenchang base in Hainan province. The rocket, of type Long March 5B, ejected the Heavenly Harmony unmanned module into Earth orbit.
However, the rocket also entered a temporary orbit, opening up the possibility of an uncontrolled crash to Earth. The most worrying thing is that it could land in an inhabited area.
What is expected to rush out of control is the center stage of the Long March 5B, which weighs approximately 20 metric tons.
The Asian government remains firm with the idea of building Tianhe, its own space station. Photo: AFP
Upon coming into contact with the atmosphere, its steel structure will be burned and shredded before it hits the ground. Nevertheless, due to their size, they are expected to survive some debris.
Astrophysicists believe that various pieces of this mole will withstand reentry, which would be the equivalent of the accident of a small plane spread over 160 kilometers around. Since 1990 there has not been a similar situation with structures of more than 10 tons.
The only antecedent at the local level it was the Russian spaceship Salyut 7, It weighed 39 metric tons and impacted our country in 1991. Many of the recovered pieces are exhibited in the museum of the Entrepreneur Association of Astronomy.
The problem with being out of control is that space engineers the geographical point where it could impact or the date of entry cannot be calculated. The arrival could be in the next few days or at most, in a week.
By the orbital inclination of 41.5 the rocket has potential to make landfall north of New York, Madrid and Beijing, and as far south as Chile and Wellington, New Zealand, so it could return to Earth at any point near these areas.
To trace the trajectory of this stage of the rocket, there are too many uncertainties in calculating the effect of atmospheric drag. Earth’s atmosphere can expand or contract with solar activity, making it difficult to estimate when and where it will fall.
This Tuesday, the spacecraft orbits the Earth every 90 minutes, at about 27,700 kilometers per hour and at an altitude of less than 300 km. The United States military has named it 2021-035B and its route can be tracked at orbit.ing-now.com.
It is the second time that parts of that Chinese booster rocket pose a threat to Earth.
In May of last year, Wreckage of the Long March-5B fell uncontrollably into the Atlantic Ocean, although it almost hit New York City, which was the fourth largest uncontrolled reentry in history.
The rocket launch fIt is part of 11 planned missions to build the Chinese space station, which is expected to be complete by the end of 2022.
It is a T-shaped structure that will weigh around 60 tons, divided into up to six modules. That is, smaller than the International Space Station, whose construction began in 1998 and weighs around 408 tons.
The Tianhe station will have a docking port and will also be able to connect with a Chinese satellite.
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