The Pentagon said Wednesday, May 5, to track the Chinese rocket which is due to make an uncontrolled re-entry into the atmosphere this weekend, with the risk of crashing in an inhabited area.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin
"is informed, and he knows Space Command is literally tracking this rocket debris
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.
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China on Thursday launched the first of three elements of its space station, the "CSS", which was powered by a Long March 5B rocket.
It's the body of this rocket that's due to land in the next few days, and no one knows where.
“It's almost the body of the rocket, if I understood correctly.
It is almost intact "
, he added, specifying that the re-entry into the atmosphere is planned
" around Saturday "
After the separation of the space module, the launcher began to orbit the planet in an irregular trajectory, slowly losing altitude, making any prediction about its point of entry into the atmosphere, and therefore its point of fall, almost impossible.
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It is possible that it will decay on entry into the atmosphere, leaving only limited debris to crash.
And if it remains intact, the planet being 70% water, there is a good chance that the rocket will be damaged in the sea, but it is not sure.
It could crash into a populated area or onto a ship.
Asked about the possibility of space debris being destroyed if land areas are threatened, the Pentagon spokesman replied that it was
to say so.
“We are watching him.
We are following him as closely as we can, ”
"But it's just too early to know where he's going to go and if there's anything to be done."
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This is not the first time that China has lost control of a spacecraft upon its return to earth. In April 2018, a Tiangong-1 space laboratory disintegrated on re-entry into the atmosphere, two years after it ceased to function. The Chinese authorities had denied that the laboratory had escaped their control.