"Out of control" ... a Chinese missile may fall to the ground within days
The huge missile launched by China last Thursday became out of control during its orbit around the Earth, and it could fall on its surface in the next few days, according to "Space News".
The British newspaper, The Independent, stated that the "Long March 5B" missile, which has a length of 30 meters and weighs 21 tons, was carrying the central capsule to build the new space station that China is building.
The missile was launched into low Earth orbit and left to orbit around the Earth uncontrollably instead of determining where it is supposed to land.
Experts say that most missiles do not reach the speed that would take them into Earth orbit, and usually enter the atmosphere and land in a known return zone.
As for this Chinese missile, it orbits the Earth every 90 minutes and passes north of New York, Madrid and Beijing, and as far south as Chile and Wellington, New Zealand.
The missile is expected to fall anywhere within this range.
Experts explained that there are parts of the missile that will burn during its return, while some of the materials that make up the missile are heat-resistant, such as stainless steel or titanium tanks.
They added that any debris that did not burn when the missile returned could potentially pose a threat to people and property.
Space flight observer Jonathan McDowell said the size of the missile means that when it returns to Earth, it will be "out of control."
“I think by current standards, leaving the missile to orbit around the Earth uncontrollably is unacceptable,” he added.
Since 1990, no missile weighing more than 10 tons has been left in Earth orbit uncontrolled.
China aims to complete construction of its new "Tiangong" space station by 2022.
This station will be the second permanent base in space, after the International Space Station.
If the International Space Station stops its service as scheduled in 2024, China will become the only country to operate a space station.