A 100-foot-tall, 22-metric-tonne Chinese rocket is re-entering the Earth this weekend and according to the US Space Command, it poses low risk to humans.
The “out-of-control” Chinese Long March 5B rocket will likely splash down in the ocean on Saturday, according to a report in The Verge.
The US Space Command said in a statement that “its exact entry point into the Earth’s atmosphere cannot be pinpointed until within hours of its reentry”.
The US, however, would expect China to pay for any damage caused by its rocket stage, the report mentioned.
“Much of the earth is covered in water, so there’s almost no risk,” said Dan Oltrogge, founder of the Space Safety Coalition.
The Long March 5B rocket can’t be maneuvered or controlled.
“It’s orbiting Earth diagonally at a 41.5-degree inclination (or tilt) from the equator. That means it passes over a large swath of Earth, anywhere as far south as Chile and the top half of New Zealand, and as far north as New York and Madrid,” the report said on Thursday.
“The likelihood of any human being getting hit is quite low. It’s extremely low, let’s call it,” Oltrogge was quoted as saying in the report.
Tiangong-1, China’s first prototype space station launched in 2011, was another massive object that uncontrollably reentered in 2018 but mostly broke up in the atmosphere over the South Pacific Ocean.