See update at end of article; the rocket debris has reportedly crashed into the Indian Ocean.
We now have more details about the 22-ton Chinese rocket that is expected to crash to Earth soon, including an approximate window of time and expected risk zone.
U.S. experts are now predicting that the rocket debris “will make landfall or land in the ocean between 9:04 and 11:04 P.M. Eastern,” reported CNN’s Pamela Brown, noting that their calculations had Spain, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Australia and New Zealand all in the risk zone.
However, European modelers say the U.S. is not out of danger.
The rocket, said CNN international correspondent Will Ripley, weighs 22 tons and is the size of ten-story building, “about a fifth the size of the Statue of Liberty, hurtling around the Earth as we speak.”
The current speed of the rocket is estimated to be about 18,000 miles per hour and it is expected to orbit the Earth 1.3 times during that two-hour window of time, said Ripley, “which is why there’s still such a huge window of possibility for the estimated reentry.”
Over 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered in ocean, Ripley explained, meaning that it was most likely the rocket would crash into either the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans, but the possibility that it could hit a populated area on land has scientists concerned.
And so we watch and wait, hoping for a big splash. Stay tuned…
Watch the video above, via CNN.
UPDATE 5/9/21 12:40 am: According to CNN, the China Manned Space Engineering Office is reporting that most of the Long March 5B rocket burned up upon reentry into Earth’s atmosphere, and the remaining debris is believed to have crashed into the Indian Ocean, just west of the Maldives. It is not known if any of the debris landed on the small island nation.
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