The risk of a person being hit by wreckage from the Chinese missile was one in billions …

After causing real panic around the world, the giant propellant from the Chinese Long March 5 rocket finally fell back to earth at around 4:30 a.m. (Paris time) last Sunday.

The vehicle was launched in late April to bring the basic structure of a Chinese space station into orbit. It was more than 33 meters high and 5 meters in diameter after it was successfully detached from the module. Main. Fortunately, it disintegrated during its atmospheric re-entry and ended its frenzied run across the Indian Ocean near the Maldives.

A great relief for scientists and internet users

The information was provided by the Chinese Manned Space Technology Bureau. A few minutes earlier, according to the BBC, the latter had made a statement: “According to monitoring and analysis, the first stage of the Longue-Marche 5B launcher went into the air on May 9, 2021 at 02:24 GMT. The atmosphere. The officers then gave the coordinates of the crash site.

This calms the opinion of most internet users, especially since the Chinese authorities have been rather discreet in this area. The least that can be said is that this company was founded in that last year debris from another Chinese missile fell on a location in Côte d’Ivoire. The incident caused some material damage. Fortunately, no one was killed or injured.

A start that has become a controversial topic

As a reminder, the Long March 5 missile was launched on April 29th from Wenchang Base, which is on the northeast coast of Hainan Island. Their mission was to put the first element of the Chinese space station into orbit at an altitude of nearly 400 km. A mission that was completed successfully. Although the new incident did no harm, the scientific community has repeatedly criticized China. This is particularly the case of Lloyd Austin, Secretary of Defense, who said the country did not take enough action to prevent such a disaster.

“This is evidence that those of us who operate in space have, or should be, an obligation to act safely and thoughtfully and to take all of this into account when planning operations,” suggested The General of the United Army States reported by Ouest-France.

Opaque data

Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, is one of the scientists who was very interested in the event. A few days before the crash, he tweeted that the risk of one person being affected is one in billions. You should know that even the Chinese authorities did not know the date, time and exact location of the atmospheric re-entry.

To predict the impact, McDowell relied on data from the US Space Command and several websites. Unfortunately, that didn’t help much. And for good reason, some parameters were vague, just to name the object’s tilt angle, its speed, as well as the likelihood of destruction during atmospheric re-entry.

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