Long March 5B Core is Down

Well, that was fun. Spin the wheel and roll the ball and see who it squishes. China has got to stop playing rocket roulette with people’s lives.

It works like this. The SpaceX Falcon 9, and most other rockets, either send their boosters and other launch components on suborbital trajectories that they know will drop into the ocean, or they leave enough fuel in them to deorbit them on purpose into uninhabited areas, usually somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. Many rocket companies these days also try to build things in such a way so that most everything burns up on reentry through Earth’s atmosphere before any of it can reach the ground. China’s Long March 5B launcher sends up space station components and then the core stage is left in an unstable orbit to reenter on it’s own and rain several tons of debris on some random place on the planet.

Last night the core stage of their rocket that launched their habitation module reentered the atmosphere over the India Ocean near the Maldive Islands and it’s pieces seem to have all fallen into the ocean north of there. The other time China did this, some of the pieces hit land in Africa with no injuries.

Someone needs to explain to China that this is like shooting a gun into the air. Yes, the likelihood of it hitting anyone is very slim, but that’s not the same as zero. Just like with Covid when they shut down domestic travel but allowed international travel out of the infected area, China doesn’t seem to place any value at all on the lives of people outside their country (and have little more respect for the lives of their own people).

Alongside this, there were also some armchair quarterbacks and other critics on social media who know even less about this stuff than I do (and I know very little), browbeating experts who were trying to help inform and only doing the best job that our technology for such stuff allows.

I’m gonna hit the sack now. I’m just glad that it has left orbit and appears to have not hurt anyone. We’ll know for sure on that last bit tomorrow. Now, we wait for China to launch another module so that we can worry about this all over again. It’s like the new baseball player on the team who throws the bat after they hit the ball…the other players need to keep shouting at them, “Stop doing that!” until they listen and learn.

Credit Wikipedia

~ by Bill Housley on May 8, 2021.

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