by Writer Team | May 24, 2021 3:36 am
There is finally some relief concerning China’s recent rocket launch from the end of April. The remnants of the rocket, which were pieces leftover after the rocket burned up in re-entry, are said to have landed in the Indian Ocean sometime in the late hours of May 8th (for the Western World) and earlier hours of Sunday, May 9th.
This confirmation has brought some peace of mind to those who were tracking the rocket’s path since its initial launch.
The rocket was part of China’s Long March 5B series of rockets and was obsessively watched since its launch. The rocket’s launch raised many concerns from the moment it left Earth. The path of the rocket wasn’t totally clear and overall, people began worrying it might have landed in populated areas.
These concerns were brought forth due to the rocket’s size and incredible speeds. The rocket core weighed somewhere between 21 and 23 metric tons and spanned an impressive 100ft long and 15 to 16.5ft wide. Additionally, the rocket core reached speeds of around 18,000 mph before its re-entry to Earth.
With this massive size and barrelling speeds, it is no wonder that people were so concerned. Thankfully, the re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere burned up a lot of the rocket and the debris found its way to the Indian Ocean instead of touching the physical ground.
Specifically, the rocket debris is said to have landed in the Indian Ocean just west of the area of Maldives. Coordinates were provided for the debris crash site as 72.47 degrees east and 2.65 degrees north. While coordinates are never truly exact, these coordinates have provided better insight into the debris’s landing location.
This forthcoming information was provided via the internet from the China Manned Space Engineering Office. This office is the primary location for tracking rockets that are launched by China. While safety measures aren’t always taken during these missions from China, their Engineering Office attempts to track the rockets that are launched as best as possible.
During its course around the Earth before re-entry, predictions arose of where it might land. These predictions weren’t actually based on anything concrete since a lot of people following the rocket’s course wasn’t able to pinpoint the rocket’s trajectory. It was simply too out of control.
Even still, the Space Force’s 18th Space Control Squadron did their best to determine possible points of contact. Some of those areas included Australia, Haiti, Italy, Greece, Spain, Jordan, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, and Costa Rica. While these weren’t solid predictions the squadron felt it necessary to make efforts of predicting the rocket’s path.
Other reports cautioned that the rocket could have landed as far north as New York. Once again, these were all speculations. Considering the rocket’s size and China’s reputation for its space program, these predictions were all subjective notions. As with the squadron’s attempt to track the rocket’s path, other space agencies made attempts as well.
These attempts weren’t fruitless as any insight into the potential path was helpful. China launched the rocket on April 29th which gave space agencies (outside of China’s own agencies) to closely watch the rocket’s path around Earth. Just about 10 days later is when the re-entry occurred and the rocket debris plummeted into the ocean.
While that isn’t exactly a long time period, it goes to show how diligent other space agencies were in their attempts to figure out the course of the rocket. The fact the debris landed in the Indian Ocean proved these agencies wrong, however, their insight was still better than crossing fingers and simply hoping.
Although perhaps a little of that happened as well. Either way, the Indian Ocean took the brunt of the crash and that is a relief to the areas that were on the list of potential crash sites.
China’s response to the situation has been without any sense of urgency. In fact, Wang Wenbin, a contact for China’s Foreign Ministry, assured the world that China already knew that the rocket would never survive re-entry. He stated they were aware most of the rocket would be lost and burned up upon re-entry.
This response comes off as shocking to some and not so shocking to others. Reports of other rocket launch failures from China have shown that the country’s attempt to have successful rocket flights has been less than successful. Just about a year ago, another one of China’s Long March 5B series rockets collided with a West African village.
While no one was hurt, this incident is one of many showcasing China’s problems with properly handling its rocket missions.
The most recent rocket launch won’t be China’s last by a long shot. The country has plans to move forward with other rocket launches. This is being done to help build up the country’s Tianhe Space Station. China’s goal is to have the space station operating regularly in 2022.
While this rocket only distributed debris into the Indian Ocean, the previous series of rocket failures raises plenty of concern moving forward. China simply isn’t as safe when it comes to launching these rocket missions. Safety should always come first and so far the Long March 5B series is being quite a haphazard display of execution.
Space programs around the world hope that eventually, China will implement more safety measures to keep their rocket launches a bit more under control. Other space programs ensure the trajectory of its rockets are aligned with water before they re-enter the Earther’s orbit. Perhaps China can try and follow suit in future rocket launches.
In taking these safety measures, China could better track their rockets through their Engineering Office. Moreover, it would provide a little more peace of mind to the rest of the world that the rockets wouldn’t be a danger to populated areas of the world.
The country’s current and past practices have shown that there’s always some room for improvement to ensure safety for themselves as well as other countries.
Source URL: https://www.newsinsider.org/716/chinas-out-of-control-rocket-lands-in-indian-ocean/
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