Wednesday 2 November 2022 08:19 PM 21-ton piece of China's rocket that launched into space set to make an ... trends now
A massive 21-ton piece of China's Long March 5B rocket booster, the size of a 10-story building, is predicted to make an uncontrolled reentry into Earth's atmosphere Saturday - and experts still cannot predict where it will make a crash landing.
The rocket, which launched on October 31, carried the third and final modular to China's Tiangong Space Station, but now aerospace experts who are scrambling to determine its path back home before it breaks through the atmosphere.
The last Long March booster that tumbled back to Earth this past July and similar to the current situation, China has not shared specific trajectory information of the debris that is vital to 'ensuring the safety of people here on Earth,' NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in July.
Gregory Henning, Project Leader at The Aerospace Corporation’s Center for Orbital Debris and Reentry Studies (CORDS, told DailyMail.com that there is still too much uncertainty in the data and models to make a prediction.
'As the rocket body’s altitude decreases and the reentry approaches, the window will shrink, and will begin to reveal locations that will not be the landing site,' Henning explained.
'But the exact location will not be known until it actually enters.'
While major cities appear to be safe from the falling debris, Henning said '88 percent of the world’s population does live within those at-risk latitude bounds' of the booster - but the odds of an individual being affected are about six in 10 trillion.
China launched the rocket on October 31, which delivered the final piece of its new space station. However, just like the other rockets before, this booster is set to make an uncontrolled reentry Saturday
The modular, named Mengtain, blasted into space on Monday afternoon from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Centre on the southern island province of Hainan.
Mengtian, or 'Celestial Dream', joins Wentian as the second laboratory module for the station, collectively known as Tiangong, or 'Celestial Palace'. Both are connected to the Tianhe core module where the crew lives and works.