“This risk can be completely avoided because the technologies and mission designs are already in place and can provide controlled re-entries (often in remote areas of the ocean) rather than uncontrolled and therefore completely random re-entries,” he said. he declared by e-mail.
Holger Kraj, head of the European Space Agency’s Space Debris Office, said international best practice is to conduct a controlled re-entry, targeting a distant part of the ocean, whenever the risk of casualties is extremely high.
He added that the missile’s return area was geographically limited between latitudes 41 degrees south and 41 degrees north of the equator.
US Space Command said it would follow the Chinese rocket crash to Earth, according to its spokesman.
Depending on changing weather conditions, the rocket stage’s exact point of entry into Earth’s atmosphere “cannot be determined until a few hours after re-entry,” the spokesperson said, but it is estimates that it will re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere on August 1. .
The 18th Space Defense Squadron, part of the U.S. Army tracking re-entry operations, will also provide daily updates on its location.
CNN has contacted the Chinese space agency for comment.
Space junk weighing more than 2.2 tons is typically carried to a designated location on its first orbit around Earth, said Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
“The fact is that large objects generally don’t get into orbit without an active control system,” he said.
Without “an active control system, no engine that could be restarted to bring it back to Earth…it goes into orbit and eventually shuts down due to friction with the atmosphere,” McDowell said. He told CNN.
Last year, China was criticized for dealing with space junk after another unit launched a similar rocket. Her remains sank in the Indian Ocean near the Maldives 10 days after launch.
“Nations traveling in space must reduce the risks to people and property on Earth from the re-entry of space objects and increase transparency regarding these operations,” the NASA Administrator said at the time. Bill Nelson.
Space junk, like ancient satellites, enters Earth’s atmosphere daily, though most of it goes unnoticed because it burns up long before it reaches Earth.
Only the largest pieces of space junk – like spacecraft parts and missiles – pose very little risk to humans and infrastructure on Earth.