According to NYTimes, on July 24, China launched another big rocket, the Long March 5b, carrying a new solar laboratory to the Tiangong Space Station. This move has again caused anxiety about where and when the rocket’s debris will land.
China has previously launched Long March 5B twice, the first in 2020 and the second in 2021.
In 2020, Long March 5B, after completing the mission, uncontrollably fell back to earth. The rocket eventually landed in West Africa, damaging several houses, but fortunately, no one was killed.
In 2021, the Long March 5B booster also plummeted to earth in an uncontrollable state for more than a week, causing public concern. The booster eventually landed in the Indian Ocean, near the Maldives.
At the time, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said, “It is clear that China is failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris.”
This time, Long March 5B threw space debris toward the earth from the ten-story, 23-ton rocket, which will reach land in the next few days. Like the previous two times, it is unknown where the booster or debris will fall.
DW reported that Rüdeger Albat, senior engineer of the European Space Agency, explained that, unlike Long March 5B, the European rocket is designed to allow fine control of debris, which means scientists know exactly where and when the debris will fall.