This is the launch vehicle that launched “Tianhe” (Celestial Harmonics) on April 29, the first unit of the “Tiangong” “Heavenly Palace” space station. It was the so-called Long March 5B missile, which is an extremely powerful launch vehicle.
Usually, after launch, the launch vehicle falls to Earth instantly and in a controlled manner, usually at sea. However, Long March 5B reached a speed high enough to enter low Earth orbit. The missile is designed in such a way that it becomes rudderless and returns to Earth via gravity. It was impossible to predict where the missile would have landed. It can be located between 41 degrees north latitude and 41 degrees south latitude, like northern New York or Madrid or Beijing, for example, or south like Wellington in New Zealand.
It has become clear in recent days that the 30-meter-long missile will return to Earth this weekend. The fear was that massive debris would fall into populated areas at speeds of hundreds of kilometers per hour. Not only with potential damages, but also losses as a result. Space experts from the United States and Europe monitored the situation closely. China has been criticized for not guaranteeing the return of the missile in an controlled manner. China disagreed and said most of the missile would burn out.
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