Science

China's Failed Rocket Launch Sheds Massive 19 Meter Space Debris that Almost Hit New York

By Urian , May 13, 2020 10:24 PM EDT

China's launch came with a massive chunk falling out and hitting the earth on Monday. The extra mass was only a few minutes away before hitting New York City itself.

Reports have said that the space debris would have potentially rained down on New York City if the Long March 5B rocket would have re-entered the atmosphere about 15 minutes earlier.

The Chinese rocket was known to carry a certain experimental craft into space and it was previously launched on May 5 but suddenly malfunctioned after a week in space which then led to the uncontrolled plummet.

The big rocket particle

There was a 20-ton core part of the rocket that suddenly came shooting down into Earth's own atmosphere around 11 AM ET. The rocket part was said to be moving at a speed of thousands of miles per minute.

Although the majority of the falling debris was actually burning during re-entry, a certain bus-sized piece suddenly splashed right into the Atlantic Ocean located off the coast of West Africa. This was reported by the Independent.

Astronomers have stated that the certain piece that actually fell off was a 93-foot or 19-meter part of the rocket that amassed a weight of 20 tons. This makes it the most massive object to ever make an uncontrollable reentry from outer space to Earth in decades.

A huge chunk of the rocket landed somewhere off of the coast of West Africa while smaller pieces actually fell in Cote d'Ivoire but there were zero injuries reported.

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Astronomer accounts

A certain astronomer by the name of Jonathan McDowell who hailed from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics then told the Independent that even space itself actually has a thin bit of atmosphere left. 

The object is known to be in low orbit and travels at approximately 18,000 mph. This means that even a small bit of air could potentially make a huge headwind.

The astronomer continued saying that the satellite's actual orbit gets much lower over time and even hits a denser atmosphere where the headwind is actually bigger.

The Chinese rocket is called the Long March CZ-5B rocket and was previously used in order to launch a certain cargo capsule along with a new-generation spaceship that was designed to send astronauts straight to the moon.

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Its descent was recently confirmed by the 18th Space Control Squadron which is a known unit of the United States Air Force that actually tracks space debris around Earth's own orbit.

Even the military agency itself said that it was notable not just because of its size but also because of the fact that it was of uncontrollable descent.

The trackers were not able to find out where the debris would finally end up but a lot of them have speculated that it could fall either on the ocean or land in Australia, United States, or Africa.

The rockets could survive re-entry and crash on earth according to an account given on CNN.

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