Chinese rocket debris to cause limited damage, expert predicts

by News Update

Remnants of China’s largest rocket launched last week are expected to plunge back through the atmosphere — dropping the equivalent of three pickup trucks or a small plane late Saturday or early Sunday, an expert said.

Long March 5B, the Chinese rocket, is equivalent in size to an unloaded semi-truck and weighs roughly 22 tons — as much as nine tons of material — and is expected to survive, Ted Muelhaupt, principal director of The Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies (Cords) at the Aerospace Corporation, said.

While Muelhaupt agrees with the Chinese foreign ministry’s prediction that the debris will likely fall into the ocean, he is concerned that China has had two uncontrolled re-entries in the space of a year.

“There was enough reaction to the last one last May — most people thought they (China) would have learned their lesson and not done it again, but apparently they have,” Muelhaupt said.

Debris from Chinese rocket launches is not uncommon within China. In late April, authorities in the city of Shiyan, Hubei Province, issued a notice to people in the surrounding county to prepare for evacuation as parts were expected to land in the area.

No such system exists beyond China, according to Muelhaupt, and he hopes the number of uncontrolled reentries remains low in the future.

The Long March 5B is one of the largest pieces of space debris to return to Earth. The core stage of the first Long March 5B that returned to Earth last year weighed nearly 20 tons, surpassed only by debris from the Columbia space shuttle in 2003, the Soviet Union’s Salyut 7 space station in 1991, and NASA’s Skylab in 1979.

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49 comments

LEGO Engines May 9, 2021 - 4:10 AM

34 mil if it lands on yo house

Michael Doran May 9, 2021 - 4:12 AM

Would laugh if it landed on china's government building. Ironic..

stark tonny May 9, 2021 - 4:14 AM

are you take menoy from china?

Howard Yu May 9, 2021 - 4:14 AM

We demand no damage at all!

mark allen May 9, 2021 - 4:15 AM

nova scotia new brunswick boarder opening protest may 9th 12 noon happy mothers day.. and big thumbs up for the truckers who have joined … we have 1 country canada.. and all our provincial boarders shall be opened.. this is our country .. we the canadian people are going back to normal.. time for canadians to open up.. they cant stop freedom anymore.. 15mth house arrests are over.. bring your guitars.. blankets pic nic goodies.. lets party.. and celebrate being free canadians.. i think we got our selves a convoy.. big shout out to the truckers who keep rolling .. they are our life line.. god bless the truckers.. looking forward to the convoy .. we have had enough of the emergency powers abuses.. c u all tomorrow may 9th 12 noon nova scotia new brunswick boarder.. any bands like to jam bring your gear.. we need to hear music.. live again singing and dancing.. and free canadians again.. big shout out to all the rebels.. we are growing by millions now,.. thanks rebel news .. and all the canadian rebelling for our freedoms.. and to the police that are standing with the charter, and common sense.. CELABRATING MOMS AT THE NOVA SCOTIA,NEW BRUNSWICK BORDER .. PLS COPY PASTE AND SHARE every where thank u and god bless the canadian rebels.. we are all free canadians now lets act like it.. the great peoples of canada reopening.. july first 2021 we will be free

Stefan H. May 9, 2021 - 4:15 AM

FCK China

Far From Local May 9, 2021 - 4:16 AM

Mr flip flop oxymoron

Polly Ticks May 9, 2021 - 4:17 AM

If it crashes near me I'm calling it a UFO crash site and I'll charge admission to see the debris

Strong May 9, 2021 - 4:18 AM

China can't stop fu**ing our lives?

MrAuberyII GODs Earth is FLAT and NASA is FAKE May 9, 2021 - 4:18 AM

Would you like to see how space agencies fake going to space? Come see

xdragus May 9, 2021 - 4:20 AM

Holy moly the media cannot stop talking about these rockets 24/7. They really got nothing else to cover. Looking forward to the next narrative in pushing the china hate propaganda.

Last Chang May 9, 2021 - 4:22 AM

Out of control 🇨🇳China virus,
– now out of control Chinese rocket? Jesus.

Pub Comrad May 9, 2021 - 4:25 AM

China is interfering with Canadian internal affairs!

Bruins Banter May 9, 2021 - 4:25 AM

What if it hits an airplane?

ophelia Chen May 9, 2021 - 4:27 AM

Think a little bit more, and believe that such low-level slander and demeaning rumors of China can only show that IQ is not high. There is no controled first-stage rocket debris in the world. Musk's so-called falcon9 first-stage can only fly to a height of 60-80 kilometers, which is completely different from the first-stage rockets of 200-400 kilometers in China.
This type of Chinese rocket is currently the world’s largest active-carrying rocket
Even if the debris of rockets and missiles land, China can accurately calculate the point of landing, because China's missiles and anti-missile systems are very sophisticated.

Cherrie Leung May 9, 2021 - 4:28 AM

As long as it is NOT nuclear.. I don't really care since all rockets doing the same thing. ie…NASA.

Hassan Qureshi May 9, 2021 - 4:34 AM

Last time i was this early was when i came prematurely

Duncan Stewart May 9, 2021 - 4:34 AM

Imagine if it hit an empty cruise ship heading to Florida. Irony

Polk Olkj May 9, 2021 - 4:36 AM

I am from Algeria in North Africa and the rocket was passed 16 times nears my area 😅 I saw it twice it will pass again in 40 min from now . But now it begins to be serious . Let's wish it will falls in Mediterranean Sea not in land

Sho Sugino May 9, 2021 - 4:39 AM

Yes it will be a mostly peaceful 100 ton weight coming down at 11,000 miles per hour.

papa bravo May 9, 2021 - 4:42 AM

Chinese roulette is on the bet is our lives thank you China

Mark Cayer May 9, 2021 - 4:43 AM

Time to go through my old DVD's so we can watch the old TV Series "Dead Like Me" tonight.
Thats the one where the star gets killed by a falling piece of space debris.

WoahBread May 9, 2021 - 4:45 AM

to the people who camp in corners on cod, i respectfully hope this lands on your house

Mike May 9, 2021 - 4:49 AM

Safe to say China is not the norm.

You Liked Your Own Comment May 9, 2021 - 4:55 AM

Needs to land on anti vaxxers

Sushanth Mindi May 9, 2021 - 4:58 AM

Hey Captain marvel …..we need your help from these chinese kree's.

Almeny Bonilla May 9, 2021 - 4:58 AM

A few hours later "Welcome to the gulag" if I was joking about this but I'm really helping It isnt gonna be that bad

Ронахи Дневной свет May 9, 2021 - 5:01 AM

CHINA is the Sword of Justice. ❤️

Joshua Lam May 9, 2021 - 5:04 AM

i wonder how the chinese government would feel if we had an “uncontrolled reentry” over their territory….

Britain Porter May 9, 2021 - 5:10 AM

Shoot it down.. easy.

Unknown Anonymous May 9, 2021 - 5:13 AM

Dont believe this wasnt intended, this is purposley done

Kanwar umar May 9, 2021 - 5:14 AM

chinese are smart any destruction they create never touches them first the virus now the rocket.😁😁😁😁😁😁😁😁😁

فبنشاد .كيرلاا.الهند May 9, 2021 - 5:14 AM

I'm from Kerala India🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳
🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀😧😧😧😧

sleepy dawg May 9, 2021 - 5:16 AM

The Chinese will blame it one someone else, as they always do.

Melody C. May 9, 2021 - 5:22 AM

If it hits near me I demand to see wen junhui along the 34 million

Mr. f1anks May 9, 2021 - 5:23 AM

Stay safe everyone!

Wingnut May 9, 2021 - 5:28 AM

Covid bombing/spraying

Do's Don't May 9, 2021 - 5:33 AM

China again.

Tony Cisneros May 9, 2021 - 5:34 AM

They planned to target hitting something, similar to their virus.

Ocia Yng May 9, 2021 - 5:35 AM

can't control a virus, can't control a rocket, maybe it'll crash in Bejing. Will my face mask save me if it lands on me?

thejeffinvade May 9, 2021 - 5:37 AM

Let me explain what is the problem. Normally the first stage is only pushing the rocket for 2-3 mins before it exhausted all its fuel and plunge back to earth. So it won't fall far from the launch site, usually no further than 2-300 km. This is why Space X can return its first stage. Since most rocket launch facilities are next to the ocean, this isn't a problem.

But this new Chinese rocket, the Long March 5B, its four boosters are ejected early, like other rocket's first stage. They will fall into the water quickly after launch, but its core first stage, which is huge and is essentially acting as the second stage, will keep pushing the payload into orbit. Then it will fall back uncontrollably.

The problem is other rockets' second stage, like the Space X one that falls in Washington state last month, iit is small. 3-5 tons when empty. Most of it will burn up in the atmosphere. But the Chinese core stage is huge, more like 15-20 tons, it's far more likely to actually land.

Enpeesee Grayscale May 9, 2021 - 5:37 AM

Too bad. I was hoping that it would trigger WW3.

Thom Perkins May 9, 2021 - 5:37 AM

Obviously their spies did not get the rest of the data, for shame!

Esther C May 9, 2021 - 5:38 AM

I have a bad feeling about this

David CaDavid May 9, 2021 - 5:39 AM

Are we all gonna act like the Chinese aren’t doing too much at this point? Like 2020 should have been enough of China for a life time.

Maurixio Garcia Sanchez May 9, 2021 - 5:39 AM

Where are the US and Russia antimissils batteries ?

In God We Trust May 9, 2021 - 5:42 AM

Large rocket parts rained down over a pair of small Indonesian islands on Monday when the second stage of a Falcon 9 rocket launched earlier this year fell from orbit and, at least to some extent, survived its fiery re-entry over the island of Java.

At least two sizeable tanks were reported falling from the sky around 10 Western Indonesian Time in the Sumenep Regency on the eastern end of Madura Island located north-east of Java. The tanks landed on the small islands of Giliraja and Giligenting, causing damage to an animal enclosure but luckily leaving the animals and all locals in the area unharmed.

The timing and location of the debris sighting is consistent with the uncontrolled re-entry of the second stage of a Falcon 9 rocket launched in August of this year.

The United States tracks objects in Earth orbit and close attention is paid to large objects when approaching the natural decay of their orbit. Ground-based observations yield orbital parameters for the objects from which re-entry predictions can be made a few hours before re-entry with an error bar of around an hour, however, observations with infrared-sensing satellites can detect the signature of a re-entering object and precisely determine the timing and location of the event.

Joe Shmoe May 9, 2021 - 5:44 AM

Hasn’t China done enough? Every country should boycott China..for safety reasons.

Hai Domo May 9, 2021 - 5:45 AM

Will media be posting videos "I think we need to get under the desk."