CHINESE SPACE ROCKET SLAMS INTO EARTH’S ATMOSPHERE
A 19.6 metric ton (MT) rocket slammed into the Earth’s atmosphere uncontrollably on May 11, just six days after the rocket, named Long March 5b, shot into space from the Wenchang launch center.
Writing for Live Science, Rafi Letzter said the rocket was the heaviest piece of space junk to slammed into the atmosphere sans controls since 1991, quoting Jonathan McDowell, a Harvard astrophysicist and orbital object tracker.
The last time a heavier object had an uncontrolled entry was 1991, when the 43-ton (39,000 kg) Salyut-7 Soviet space station reentered the atmosphere over Argentina, McDowell added.
The 18th Space Control Squadron, a US Air Force space-tracking group, reported that Long March 5B reentered the atmosphere at 11:33 a.m. EST off the west coast of Africa, approaching Nouakchott, Mauritania. In the rocket's last half-hour in orbit, it passed over Hollywood, Colorado Springs and New York City's Central Park, according to McDowell.