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25-ton Chinese Rocket Debris To Fall On Earth – Free PDF Download


What has happened?

  • Scientists say there’s an outside chance that debris from a massive, spent Chinese booster rocket will not entirely burn up on reentering Earth’s atmosphere and could rain down on populated areas in the coming days.
  • And it’s not the first time Chinese space junk has raised public safety concerns.

What is this debris?

  • China delivered a second module to its manned but still under construction Tiangong space station over the weekend.
  • But, while the mission was considered a success and smaller parts of the cargo spacecraft have already largely burned up in the atmosphere,
  • A 25-ton booster rocket is currently in a decaying, uncontrolled orbit, and scientists expect it to fall back to Earth in a matter of days.

  • Part of a Long March 5B rocket China launched on July 24 will make an uncontrolled reentry around July 31.

Where will it fall?

  • The Aerospace Corporation, which tracks space junk through its Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies,
  • Tweeted its estimate that the rocket body would reenter Earth’s atmosphere on or about July 31 and included a chart showing the used rocket’s orbital path.
  • The possible debris field includes much of the US, as well as Africa, Australia, Brazil, India and Southeast Asia, according to Aerospace’s predictions.

  • “Due to the uncontrolled nature of its descent, there is a non-zero probability of the surviving debris landing in a populated area — over 88% of the world’s population lives under the reentry’s potential debris footprint,” the Aerospace Corp. statement reads.
  • “A reentry of this size will not burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere, and the general rule of thumb is that 20%–40%of the mass of a large object will reach the ground, though it depends on the design of the object.”

What china is saying?

  • Concern over the re-entry and the impact it could have is being dismissed by China, however,
  • With state-backed media saying the warnings are just “sour grapes” from people resentful of the country’s development as a space power.

Repeated instances

  • There are at least two other instances of spent Chinese rockets falling back to Earth in uncontrolled reentries.
  • In May 2020, an 18-metric-ton core stage of another Chinese rocket reentered the atmosphere from orbit in an uncontrolled manner after being used to launch an unmanned experimental crew capsule.
  • Debris from the rocket body, including a 12-meter-long pipe, struck two villages in the Ivory Coast, causing damage to several buildings.

  • One year later, another similar piece of rocket debris made an uncontrolled reentry after being used to launch another part of the Tiangong space station into low Earth orbit.
  • This time, the debris crashed into the Indian Ocean.
  • Researchers said the two rocket stages were the heaviest objects to reenter in an uncontrolled manner since the Soviet Union’s Salyut-7 space station in 1991.

Q) Which type of fuel is used by GSLV in its operations?

  1. Only solid fuel
  2. Only liquid fuel
  3. Liquid in first stage and solid in second stage
  4. Solid in first stage and liquid in second stage




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