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21-ton missile part falls to earth


China is building its own space station - that produces a lot of scrap. A module of a rocket is now supposed to re-enter the earth's atmosphere. Experts hope it ends up in the water.

Enlarge image

Chinese missile on launch

Photo: Ju Zhenhua / AP

Around 100 tons of space junk land on earth every year.

Apparently a significant part of this annual amount will fall this month.

As the "Guardian" reports, part of a Chinese rocket is currently falling towards earth.

According to the newspaper, it is rather uncontrolled.

In the worst case, the core module of the "Langer Marsch 5B" rocket, which is around 30 meters long, could fall over populated areas.

On Tuesday, the scrap module was in orbit at an altitude of around 300 kilometers.

At around 27,000 kilometers per hour, it orbits the earth every 90 minutes and slowly sinks - around 80 kilometers since the weekend.

There had already been a comparable case in May 2020.

At that time the scrap fell into the Atlantic.

Experts see great chances that the module will end up in the water this time too.

Space junk is by no means unusual, countless rocket parts, satellites and debris are racing around our earth.

If they are not too far out in space, they will be slowed down by the molecules of the atmosphere that are still there.

The denser the atmosphere, the stronger the braking effect - at some point the material will crash.

On the way back to earth through the atmosphere, it is heated strongly.

Smaller parts burn up, larger objects can also reach the surface of our planet.

Further flights are planned in the coming weeks

China recently started building its own space station.

The “Tianhe” (Heavenly Harmony) module, which has recently been transported into space and weighs 22 tons, is to form the main part of the space station, which is to be completed “around 2022”.

The rocket part that is now crashing comes from the transport of this part of the station.

In the coming weeks, two more space flights are to follow one after the other.

In May the cargo spacecraft "Tianzhou 2" could dock with fuel and supplies.

Three astronauts are also preparing to fly to Tianhe on board Shenzhou 12, possibly in June.

The construction phase requires a tight flight plan: a total of eleven flights are planned - three flights with modules, four cargo missions and four manned space flights.


Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2021-05-04

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