The remnants of China’s largest missile, which was launched last week, are expected to enter the atmosphere back through the atmosphere late Saturday evening or Sunday morning, a research and development center focusing on space and receiving US federal funding said.
On Friday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that most of the missile debris will be burned upon entering the atmosphere and it is highly unlikely to cause any harm, after the US military said that the US Space Command was following what it described as an uncontrolled entry of the missile through the atmosphere.
In a tweet published Friday evening in the United States, the Aerospace Corporation said that the latest forecast of its Center for Orbital Return and Debris Studies “Cordes” indicates that the body of the Long March 5B missile will enter the atmosphere within 8 hours before or after 4:19 days. Sunday Greenwich Mean Time.
Cordes’ latest forecast indicates that the place of entry of the missile body into the atmosphere will be near the North Island in New Zealand, but he cautioned that entry is also possible anywhere along paths covering large areas of the world.
The “Long March 5B” missile was launched from the Chinese island of Hainan on April 29, carrying on board the unmanned Tianhe spacecraft, which was carrying what would become the living quarters of a permanent Chinese space station.
Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist, had previously told Reuters that there was a possibility that parts of the missile would fall to the ground, and possibly in a residential area, as happened in May 2020 when parts of the Long March 5B missile fell on the Ivory Coast, causing some damage. Buildings, although there were no reports of casualties.
The height of the missile body has been shrinking since last week, but the speed of the drop cannot be determined due to unpredictable atmospheric variations. This is one of the largest pieces of space debris returning through the atmosphere to Earth, weighing 18 tons.