A Fall Cometh Before the Pride

China, a relative latecomer in space exploration, derives great national pride from its hard-charging program, including plans to build a space station by late 2022. But a 21-ton stage of the Long March 5B rocket that launched the “Heavenly Harmony” core module into low Earth orbit on April 29 is now tumbling through space and is set to make an uncontrolled re-entry between May 8-12.
2021-05-07
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A Fall Cometh Before the Pride
Photo: RFA

Although the stray rocket part is likely to fall on the 70 percent of the Earth's surface that is covered by ocean, the risk remains that it could rain metal on inhabited areas, prompting some space experts to criticize China for being negligent and irresponsible for ignoring a three-decade old global practice limiting uncontrolled entries to projectiles weighing less than 10 tons.

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