In a major evolution, part of the Chinese Long March 5B rocket (CZ – 5B) crashed Monday in the Atlantic Ocean, according to Science Alert. The debris is believed to be the heart of the rocket and measures 30.48 meters, weighing nearly 18,000 kg – making it the largest rocket debris dropped in the ocean since 1991. Reports indicate that the rocket was launched on May 5 and spent several days in orbit before returning. Earth’s atmosphere and crashing off the west coast of northwest Africa.
Chinese rocket accident lands in Atlantic Ocean
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics astronomer Jonathan McDowell tweeted the uncontrolled descent of the Long March 5B for the first time on Monday. It was then confirmed by the 18th Space Control Squadron – a US Air Force unit focusing on the huge mass of debris, according to reports. The previous large artificial debris to fall from space was the Skylab rocket in 1975 and Salyut 7 in 1991, according to reports.
The central stage CZ-5B-Y1 is in an orbit of 155 x 366 km and should return around May 11. With 17.8 tonnes, it is the most massive object to make an uncontrolled re-entry from the Salyut-7 of 39 tonnes in 1991, unless you count OV-102 Columbia in 2003.
– Jonathan McDowell (@ planet4589) May 7, 2020
Unmanned test flight in China
On Friday, China announced the landing of the same Long March 5B (CZ – 5B) rocket in the Autonomous Region of Inner Mongolia at 5:49 GMT. The space flight has completed its three-day unmanned orbital test flight, according to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp (CASTC). The new spacecraft is designed to eventually replace the Chinese Shenzhou spacecraft to transport astronauts to a space station in Earth orbit.
The test spacecraft took off on Tuesday on the Long March 5B rocket – which is China’s most powerful launcher. After splitting from the Long March 5B rocket, the crew’s capsule increased its altitude in a series of seven maneuvers this week, ultimately reaching an elliptical orbit up to 8,000 kilometers from Earth, according to Chinese space officials. The spacecraft payloads included solar panels that generate electricity, a communication antenna to send and receive data from ground controllers.