Chinese Rocket falls into Indian Ocean

The remains of Chinese rocket have crashed into the Indian Ocean. It is said to have been hurtling towards the earth. Hurtling is moving in a high speed, especially in a wildly uncontrolled manner.

What happened?

On April 28, 2021, China launched the Long March 5B rocket. The rocket carried the Tianhe core module of China space station. The Tianhe core module weighed 22.5 tonnes, one of the heaviest space modules. It used its own propulsion to enter in to the orbit. However, the first stage began to decay due to atmospheric drag.

The rocket fell in the Indian Ocean near the Maldives.

Is Tianhe a success or failure?

Failure. There were huge controversies over Tianhe module as China was silent after the launch. No comments were made if the rocket is being controlled. It was even unclear if the project was a success or failure as there were widespread news that only a part of the space module is falling in to the earth. Lack of transparency in such international issues was not welcomed by several countries.

Concerns

The core module launched provided living space for the astronauts. And thus, it was unusually large and heavy. After the failure of the module, it entered into an uncontrolled orbit. As it was heavy, the chances of burning away of the entire module was minimal. A part of heavy chunks were to hit the earth’s surface. However, the Chinese were silent on where the rocket is to hit the earth and when. The tracking of the re-entry was not shared. However, the US and the Europeans predicted that the rocket could hit between 41.5 degrees north and 41.5 degrees south.

Previous massive re-entries

  • The Salyut 7 space station of the Soviet Union was yet another massive re-entry that occurred in 1991.
  • In 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia made a re-entry in the populated areas of US. The Indian born Astronaut Kalpana Chawla died in this disaster. Recently, NASA launched a spacecraft named after Kalpana Chawla.
  • In 1979, the Skylab of US made a re-entry.

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