Chunks of the massive Chinese rocket that recently took an uncontrolled plunge back into the Earth’s atmosphere narrowly missed hitting New York City, according to a report.
Had the Long March 5B rocket re-entered the atmosphere about 15 to 20 minutes earlier on Monday, it would have rained debris on the nation’s largest metro area, according to Ars Technica, a technology-focused publication.
The about 100-foot long rocket was launched on May 5, carrying an unnamed prototype of a newly-designed Chinese crew capsule.
After about a week in orbit, the 20-ton core stage of the rocket fell back into the atmosphere at around 11 a.m., moving at thousands of miles per hour, and largely burning up on its way down.
A bit of the spacecraft measuring about the size of a small bus splashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of West Africa, according to the US Space Command, which was tracking the re-entry.
Some of the space junk also appeared to have landed in a town in Cote d’Ivoire, according to Quartz. No injuries were reported.
Typically, a two-stage launch will drop its first rocket into the ocean before reaching orbit — instead of allowing the large object to come back down uncontrolled, according to NASA.
It’s not the first time that China has seemingly shown a disregard for debris from its rocket launches. In November 2019, one of its rocket boosters dropped on a Chinese village, spewing toxic fuel and smashing at least one building, Ars Technica reported at the time.
Source: Read Full Article