A Chinese rocket did a re-entry with a sharp streak of light in the night skies of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra on Sunday captured the attention of the sky. The pictures and videos were shared on social media. And soon people were speculating about the cause of the blazing streak of light. Some even assumed that it was just a meteor shower.
However, as it turns out, there was no meteor shower. The blazing streak of light was caused by an ‘out of control’ Chinese rocket.
“Re-entry of a Chinese rocket stage”
Astronomer Jonathan McDowell said, “I believe this is the re-entry of a Chinese rocket stage, the third stage of the Chang Zheng 3B serial number Y77 which was launched in Feb 2021 – it was expected to re-enter in the next hour or so and the track is a good match.”
Suresh Chopade, president of Skywatch group, Nagpur, too said that the rare event observed on Sunday seems to be related to a satellite. Chopade explained, “It seems like a satellite of some nation might have fallen accidentally or may have been caused to fall intentionally. It does not seem like a meteor shower or fireball.”
At least one bit of debris fell over Maharashtra
The pieces of debris, belonging to a Chinese rocket launched in February 2021, burned up over the atmosphere. This is what led to a blazing streak of light in the night sky. At least one of the debris did not burn completely and reportedly fell over Maharashtra.
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Uncontrolled Chinese rocket re-entries from the skies
Now, a question arises here- what if these uncontrolled Chinese space rockets end up hitting a human settlement. Well, your fears aren’t really misplaced. China’s space industry is quite irresponsible and reckless in its projects. The Communist country previously had discarded rocket stages or parts falling into the Indian Ocean and even accidentally colliding into the Moon.
Last year, remnants of China’s biggest rocket landed in the Indian Ocean. The event was preceded by several days of anxiety as the re-entry was uncontrolled and there was a clear lack of transparency on China’s part. The section of China’s Long March 5B rocket that fell in the Indian Ocean had 10 stories and weighed 18 tons. It was one of the largest things to crash-land into the planet without any control.
You can easily imagine the kind of damage that may have been caused by the space debris had it fallen in an inhabited region. Anyhow, a nonchalant Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin had then said, “The probability of this process causing harm on the ground is extremely low.”
How does China gets away with uncontrolled re-entries?
First, let’s find out why China prefers uncontrolled re-entries. Well, it’s all about money. Controlling re-entries into the atmosphere is an expensive affair and China doesn’t want to spend extra money. After all, human safety comes at the bottom of Beijing’s priorities. And then more time also needs to be invested for a controlled re-entry, which China finds convenient to avoid.
And how China gets away with such reckless behaviour? Well, there are no laws regulating re-entry or preventing a nation from letting large pieces of spacecraft and rockets literally crash land on the planet without any control. Since debris in space generally gets burned up upon re-entry or lands harmless on an isolated part of the planet, international policymakers have never taken the issue seriously.
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However, with China literally misusing the loophole in international law, it is time we consider the tiny yet catastrophic scenario of Chinese space debris crashing into a human settlement and causing a huge disaster.
Chinese rockets are thus a danger to the human race as a whole. Chinese rockets literally fly anywhere without any control and crash land on any random part of the planet.
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