The Chinese missile may spin out of control in the central Mediterranean region

It is the vector phase that brought the first module of the Tiangong space station into orbit. Sardinia is also on the way back

Rome. The fall stage of the Chinese Long March 5B missile, which on April 29 brought the first unit of the Tiangong space station into orbit in an uncontrolled fall. The news, which was reported by various international websites, was confirmed to Ansa Luciano Anselmo from the Institute of Information Science and Technology of the National Research Council (Isti-Cnr) in Pisa. This is the second time this has happened with this version of the missile. The first – he notes – was in 2020, when shrapnel fell on some villages in West Africa, ” but then the news went almost unnoticed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This version of the Long March missile was first launched in May 2020, when it took the Chinese astronaut’s shuttle into orbit on an unmanned test flight. Until then, the main stage of the missile, which weighed 20 tons, fell to the ground uncontrollably. The launch on April 29 was flawless, but the truth is, Anselmo notes, “after launch, the rocket stage was abandoned in orbit and no longer showed signs of life.” In other words, it acts like a “negative car” and the only effect it is exposed to is “atmospheric brakes, causing it to retract towards the ground.”

The suspicions are also confirmed by the orbit it describes, similar to the one traveled in 2020 by its predecessor as well as in 2018 by the prototype of an ancient Chinese space station. Currently – he notes – the fall can occur in a range between 41.5 degrees in the north and 41.5 degrees in the south, which also includes central and southern Italy.

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However, it is too early to draw any conclusions as the orbit may be subject to changes. “The return – the expert says – is likely to be in the middle of next week, with uncertainty for a few days.” In the base version of Long March 5, the main stage does not reach orbit and dives into the ocean immediately after carrying its payload to the required altitude, but the 5B version is used to place very massive loads in a very low orbit, as it was the first core of the Chinese space station, ”he notes Anselmo. Basically, all the propellants of the rocket are used to bring an extraordinary payload to its destination, after which it is no longer possible to control its return. A year ago, the missile stage fell on West Africa and shrapnel fell on some villages. ”If the emergency pandemic had cast a shadow over what had happened,“ that story opened the eyes of the space community; the question arose as to why there was no attempt to move the rocket stage to another orbit. There are those who believed – as Anselmo says – that after that time China is likely to try to return to the censored. ”(Handle)

Maggie Benson

"Bacon trailblazer. Certified coffee maven. Zombie lover. Tv specialist. Freelance communicator."

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