It would fall between 11:53 and 15:53 PST this Saturday.
The Long March 5B rocket, whose mission was to carry a module to be integrated into the Chinese Tiangong spacecraft, is about to fall to Earth. With a volume of 20 to 25 tons at a speed of 28,000 kilometers per hour, the rocket monitored by China reportedly poses little risk.
When and where the rocket will land
According to the recent information of its observation, it would fall between 11:53 and 15:53 PST this Saturday, but to have a more specific estimate we must wait a few hours before the rocket re-enters the planet. With a possibility of falling between the 41st parallels, most probably in the ocean in case it does not disintegrate in the atmosphere.
Jorge Lomba, head of the Space Department of the Center for Technological and Industrial Development (CDTI), has confirmed that the chances of an impact on the Earth’s surface are very low and has mentioned that the rocket will fly over Spanish territory for three orbits of one and a half minutes. The exact location of the landing is unknown, but according to the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) it could fall in the south of Europe.
What could cause the rocket debris to fall?
“Due to the nature of the descent, there is a non-zero chance that the debris will land in a populated area: more than 80% of the world’s population lives under the possible footprint of the re-entry debris,” said the Aerospace Corporation.
Generally, space debris does not represent a risk to humans beyond that caused in the event of falling on the inhabited territory. It is constantly being monitored for the air traffic it may cause, so EASA has asked the national aviation authorities of the affected countries to constantly review predictions of the rocket’s re-entry route.
There are ways to carry out a controlled re-entry of rocket parts to Earth, but a lot of money has to be saved for it, which is a big investment, something that China is apparently not doing, Lomba said.
Story originally published in Spanish in Ecoosfera