The first photo of the main stage of the Chinese rocket "Long March 5B" has arrived, which on April 29th had brought the first module of the Chinese space station Tianhe-1 into orbit and which is now in uncontrolled fall towards Earth.
It was taken by astrophysicist Gianluca Masi, head of the Virtual Telescope and at the moment it is the only available image obtained through a powerful telescope.
In the meantime, new calculations have made it possible to reduce the margin of uncertainty regarding the time of return of the stadium of Lunga Marcia 5B to 9 hours. The most up-to-date calculation, based on data from the North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad) and provided by the Space-Track.org website, currently indicates re-entry into the atmosphere at 01:13 Italian time on May 9: a designated time to change further in the next few hours, with the gradual reduction of the margin of uncertainty.
Obtaining the photo was possible thanks to one of the robotic telescopes of the Virtual Telescope project, installed in Ceccano (Frosinone). "The instrument aimed the rocket and chased it among the stars, while it was moving very quickly: the company - observes Masi - succeeded thanks to the advanced technologies implemented on the fully automated tools of the Virtual Telescope Project, in this unique structure in the world". Using the same technology, the astrophysicist organized the live observation of one of the passages of the space wreck starting at 4.20 am on 8 May.