The Chinese rocket long expedition No. 5 B engine grabbed over New York and fell, weighing about 20 tons and the largest space debris in 30 years

by Takashi Takemizu

On May 11, 2020, it was reported that the Chinese long-launched No. 5 B rocket engine re-entered the atmosphere and flew into the Atlantic Ocean just 15 minutes after passing over New York. According to experts, the engine weighed 17.8 tonnes, the largest uncontrolled reentry into the atmosphere since the Soviet space station fell in 1991.

One of the largest pieces of space debris to fall uncontrolled back to Earth landed today-CNN

Massive piece of Chinese space junk slams uncontrolled into Earth's atmosphere | Space

China's massive Long March 5B's rocket falls out of orbit over Atlantic Ocean – Spaceflight Now

Large chunks of a Chinese rocket missed New York City by about 15 minutes | Ars Technica

On May 5, China launched the Long Expedition 5B rocket from the Wenchang satellite launch site in Wenchang, Hainan. The launch was successful, and the unmanned next-generation manned airship tester onboard the rocket was successfully put into orbit.

The current launch rocket engine generally consists of a large first stage engine and a small second stage engine. When a rocket with this configuration is launched, first the first stage engine generates most of the thrust, then it is disconnected and drops onto the sea before it gets into orbit. It plays the role of pushing it up into orbit.

On the other hand, the long expedition No. 5 B rocket launched by China this time has an engine called the core stage instead of the second stage engine. By adopting the core stage, the long expedition 5 B rocket can secure a larger payload than conventional rockets. On the other hand, during the launch of Long Expedition 5 rocket held on July 2, 2017, there was an accident in which the YF-77 engine mounted on the core stage failed and the launch failed.

Also, the separation of a large core stage in orbit has the risk of re-entry into the Earth without the control of giant rocket components.

Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysics Center, said, `` The core stage of the Expedition 5 B rocket weighs 17.8 tons, except for the Colombia, which crashed in the 2003 accident. It was an uncontrolled re-entry since the Salut No. 7 which weighed 39 tons and entered the atmosphere. '

McDowell said in an interview with CNN in the United States, 'A large object, especially a dense object such as a rocket engine part, can withstand reentry into the atmosphere and fall to the surface. In that case, there is also the risk of destroying the private house. '

According to the announcement of the U.S. Air Force, the parts of the long expedition No. 5 B rocket that was separated in orbit after the launch on May 5 were 8:33 Pacific daylight saving time on May 11 (24:33 Japan time on 11th) It re-entered the atmosphere and fell into the Atlantic Ocean.

According to orbit predictions that tracked rocket parts, some of the parts that seemed to be the core stage passed over Hollywood and New York 15 minutes before re-entry, McDowell said, `` So many major cities. I've never seen a massive re-entry over the sky! 'Tweeted on Twitter.

Furthermore, it was also reported that a 12-meter-long object, which is considered to be a component of Long Expedition 5B rocket, fell down in Mahounou Village, Côte d'Ivoire, 2100 km away from the place where the rocket component entered the atmosphere, and damaged the house. There is.

Fortunately, there seems to be no human casualties, but Mr. McDowell posted, 'It is impressive that debris of 28,000 km / h will go so far after entering the atmosphere'.

in Hardware, Posted by log1l_ks