A Chinese missile is in ‘uncontrolled’ orbit around the earth. There is a good chance that the spacecraft – which is cruising at a speed of 27,600 kilometers per hour – will soon crash. The big question is: where?
At the end of last month, the 30-meter-high rocket took off from China into space. The target? Orbiting the space capsule ‘Heavenly Harmony’. China is working on a space station, comparable to the International Space Station (ISS).
300 kilometers altitude
The so-called Long March 5B rocket itself went into orbit after the space capsule was launched. Experts tell The Guardian that it now appears that the missile is out of control.
In recent days, the rocket has lost about 80 kilometers in altitude. It now circles around the earth every 90 minutes at an altitude of about 300 kilometers.
It is impossible to predict where and when the missile will land. The location of the missile can be followed on the website of the US Army . The Long March 5B is expected to weigh around 21 tons.
“No object over 10 tons has entered the atmosphere uncontrolled since 1990,” expert Jonathan McDowell told SpaceNews. “It is unacceptable for this missile to enter the atmosphere uncontrolled.”
The missile is currently in orbit north enough to hit New York, Madrid and Beijing and south enough to hit Wellington (New Zealand) or Chile. Still, the rocket is most likely to land in the ocean, because about 70 percent of the Earth’s surface consists of water.
Over the years, several large space stations have returned uncontrolled into the atmosphere and debris have landed on Earth. As a result, a victim has never fallen.