The Long March 5B orbits the Earth several times before it enters the atmosphere and shatters. The last estimate is that it will happen between 7 and 8 PM tomorrow. Where does the missile remain on the ground then? Somewhere between 41 degrees north latitude and 41 degrees south latitude.
The Chinese believe that the West does not care about anything. It is possible that space debris from the 30-meter missile will fall into the sea, otherwise a timely warning can still be issued. The West is less confident about it. Because yes, there is a lot of sea in the said margin, but there is also a lot of land, such as southern Europe, southern United States, Brazil, and Australia. And a large part of China itself, by the way.
Earth has a point: This type of debris usually causes little damage, because it ends up in the sea or because most of it burns in the atmosphere. On the other hand, according to international agreements, these types of missile remnants must be returned to Earth in a controlled manner and China has lost control. And in May last year, it also so happened that a Chinese missile crashed in West Africa without supervision.
To be sure, the current missile is not a little boy. It weighs 20 tons, and is one of the heaviest man-made space objects to return to Earth. So Holger Krag, head of the ESA’s security program, estimates that about 20 to 40 percent of the rocket does not burn up in the atmosphere and therefore returns to Earth.
Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at Harvard University, finds the behavior of the Chinese irresponsible, and writes on Twitter, “The utter lack of recognition that it is undesirable to allow missile components to return unchecked is disappointing.”
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