Beijing: A total of 25 tonnes space junk from a recently-launched Chinese rocket is likely to crash on to Earth on July 31, according to a report.
According to US-based Aerospace Corporation’s experts at the Centre for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies (CORDS), the falling space debris, measuring in at 53.6 metres in height, is the result of the Long March 5B launch on July 24 to deliver the Wentian experiment module to China’s Tiangong Space Station.
The space junk is expected to make an uncontrolled reentry around July 31. And the possible debris field includes India, the US, Africa, Australia, Brazil, and Southeast Asia, Aerospace’s latest predictions revealed.
During the launch, the first stage of the Long March 5B also reached orbital velocity instead of falling downrange as is common practice. That placed the empty rocket body in an elliptical orbit around Earth where it is being dragged toward an uncontrolled reentry in the coming days, as per the CORDS experts tracking the uncontrolled reentry of the space junk.
Similar uncontrolled reentries of Long March rockets occurred in 2020 and 2021.
A reentry of this size will not burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere, and the general rule of thumb is that 20-40 per cent of the mass of a large object will reach the ground, though it depends on the design of the object, the report said.