Beijing, May 7 (EFE).- China said Friday it is “highly unlikely” the remnants of an uncontrolled rocket will cause damage on its return to Earth, adding that they will disintegrate during re-entry into the atmosphere.
“Most of the debris from the rocket will disintegrate and be destroyed during re-entry into the atmosphere, it is highly unlikely they will cause any damage,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Wang Wenbin told a news conference Friday. “Although it is most likely not dangerous, China is paying close attention to the reentry of the rocket.”
The rocket (Long March 5B) was used last week by China to launch one of the modules of its future space station and is expected to impact the Earth’s atmosphere this weekend.
Although the National Space Administration has not ruled on the matter, the local press also indicated Friday that it is unlikely that the remains of the rocket will fall on populated areas.
According to the state Global Times newspaper, “both Chinese and foreign experts agree that the possibility of the remains causing injuries or casualties is extremely low.”
Technicians quoted by the newspaper said the return of the rocket falls within “normal” parameters, that it is most likely that the remains will fall outside inhabited areas and disintegrate during their re-entry into the atmosphere.
Several organizations have been monitoring the rocket’s return to the Earth’s atmosphere for days. The shuttle weighs between 17 tons and 21 tons and is approximately 30 meters in length.
The network of sensors and radars of the European Union’s Space Surveillance and Tracking Service is observing the object “closely” and has verified that it is falling, and has reduced its window of entry into the Earth’s atmosphere to a period between days Saturday and Sunday.
Data shows the object’s inclination suggests the debris would fall in the ocean or uninhabited areas, and that the statistical probability of an impact on soil or populated areas “is low.” EFE