Alert for the possible fall of a Chinese rocket this weekend in southern Europe
Security agencies And surveillance services around the world, including Spain, have once again been attentive to where the remains of a Chinese rocket would fall; This time it was the Long March 5B, with an estimated mass of some 20 tons and traveling uncontrollably at a speed of 28,000 kilometres. meters per hour.
After many predictions, the remains of the rocket have fallen at 18:50 Spanish time (16:50 GMT) into the ocean Índico, after an uncontrolled re-entry into the atmosphere.
Based on its trajectory, experts had estimated that the probability of this rocket falling on Europa “was practically nil and the probability of it falling on Europa, the Mediterranean, could almost be ruled out.” neo or the Canary Islands if any fragment had survived re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, explained Jorge Lomba, head of the Space Department at the Center for Technological and Industrial Development (CDTI).
Most likely, the rocket has mostly disintegrated when it enters the atmosphere and, although initially the trajectory stated that they would fall in latitudes lower than those of Europe, it has finally reached the Indian Ocean.
The Chinese rocket, which took off on July 24 from the island of Hainan and had as its objective to transport a module to the Chinese orbital space station,the “Tiangong”, but has ended up circling the Earth. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has already assured that the chances of Long March 5B causing damage after its fall to Earth were “extremely low” and had warned that “in its final stage, the rocket returns to enter the atmosphere and there most of its components will be destroyed“.
Although the risk seemed ruled out, scientists have watched very closely close to the path of the spacecraft, from the United States or from the European Union Space Surveillance and Tracking Service (EUSST). The EUSST has been permanently coordinating with the CDTI and has had various services underway, among them that of monitoring objects that wander without control and that could re-enter the Earth's atmosphere. Although the global coordination of this body is done from the CDTI, it is Italy the country that coordinates the monitoring of Long March 5B.
It is not the first time that a spacecraft has been watched by the international community. In May of last year, it was also a Long March 5B rocket that alerted to surveillance services around the world; this ended disintegrating almost entirely and the remains falling into the Indian Ocean, causing no damage.
Three years earlier, in April 2018 , the laboratory orbitsthe Tiangong 1, which had been in disuse since 2016 and was wandering uncontrollably through space, was also monitored; it re-entered in the Earth's atmosphere over the South Pacific Ocean, also harmlessly.
There are ways, and so on. What happens most of the time is to make controlled re-entries into the atmosphere of rocket parts that are sent into space and, in his case, into the ocean, but you have to save a lot of fuel for it, which which represents a large investment, Lomba details.
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