Debris from a Chinese missile is set to fall to Earth some time over the next few days, with the debris likely to fall across a wide swath of the globe. part of a The Long Walk 5 b The missile China launched on July 24 will return to unsupervised entry around July 31, according to Aerospace Corp., a California-based nonprofit that receives funding from the United States.
The potential debris field includes much of the United States, as well as Africa, Australia, Brazil, India and Southeast Asia, according to an aerospace forecast. However, China has dismissed concerns about re-entry and the impact it could have, with state-backed media saying the warnings were merely “sour grapes” from people resentful of the country’s development as a space power.
“The United States is running out of ways to stop China’s development in the aviation sector, so defamation and slander are the only things left for it,” the Global Times reported, citing an expert.
The descent of the rocket, which weighs 23 metric tons, will be part of what critics say is a series of uncontrolled collisions that highlight the dangers of the escalating space race between China and the United States. “Due to the uncontrolled nature of their descent, there is a non-zero probability of remaining debris falling into a populated area – more than 88% of the world’s population lives under the influence of potential re-entry debris,” Aerospace said on Tuesday. In May 2021, pieces of another Long March rocket fell into the Indian Ocean, raising concern that the Chinese space agency had lost control of it. “It is clear that China is failing to meet responsible standards with regard to space debris,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
China has been closely following the return of the enhanced coupon since it was launched this week, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in Beijing on Wednesday. “It is typical of international practice for the upper stages of missiles to burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere upon re-entry,” Zhao said. “Since the research and development phase of the space engineering program, it has been designed with debris mitigation and return from orbit in mind.” Bloomberg
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