‘Out of control’ Chinese rocket is plummeting to Earth and could strike anywhere

A Chinese rocket weighing the same as three T-Rex dinosaurs could crash down to Earth at any time—and nobody knows where it's going to land.

The rocket stage has fallen off of the newly-launched Wentian space station module, which was fired into orbit by China on Sunday.

While the module docked safely, the rocket launcher has fallen away and is now in an 'uncontrolled' orbit somewhere above Earth.

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Astronomer Jonathan McDowell has warned that the rocket 'remains in orbit' and nobody can predict 'when or where' it will strike.

Dr McDowell told Gizmodo: "Unfortunately we can't predict when or where. Such a large rocket stage should not be left in orbit to make an uncontrolled reentry; the risk to the public is not huge, but it is larger than I am comfortable with."

When asked on Twitter whether it's too early to establish a timeframe for 're-entry', McDowell said, "Yes, need a few orbit measurements to get an idea."

He added: "It will break up [in orbit], but past experience shows that a bunch of 30-metre-long metal fragments will end up crashing into the ground at a few hundred km/hr."

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Most rocket debris lands in the ocean given how big it is, but there is still a chance that it could land on a human settlement on land.

This is the third rocket that China has allowed an 'uncontrolled descent' to Earth. Last May, a rocket zoomed around the Earth once every 90 minutes at such a high speed that nobody could predict where it would land.

If it had landed over a populated area, it would have been similar to a plane crash spread over 100 miles.


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