A large Chinese rocket body that’s out of control and expected to reenter Earth’s atmosphere this weekend.
According to a report by the US Pentagon, the US Space Command is tracking the trajectory, Defense Department spokesperson Mike Howard said in a statement cited by CNN, and expects the Chinese Long March 5B rocket’s appearance “around May 8.”
Aerospace.org is also tracking the rocket, and as of Friday evening, was predicting a May 8 arrival, around 9:19 p.m. PT, though predictions may change.
At the time the image was taken, “the rocket stage was at about 700 kilometers (434.9 miles) from our telescope, while the sun was just a few degrees below the horizon, so the sky was incredibly bright,” Masi wrote. “This is huge debris (22 tons, 30 meters/98 feet long and 5 meters/16 feet wide), but it is unlikely it could create serious damage.”
#CZ5B space debris, imaged a few hours ago by @masi_gianluca with our robotic telescopes. This is expected to re-entry our atmospjhere in a few days. #LongMarch5B #Tianhe1 #reentry @planet4589
— Virtual Telescope (@VirtualTelescop) May 6, 2021
As of April 5, Jonathan McDowell suggests we still don’t know where the booster will come down but it’s return is likely to occur on May 8 or 9.
And no, we still don't know *where* it's going to come down. Uncertainty on *when* is still 'sometime Saturday or Sunday'.
— Jonathan McDowell (@planet4589) May 6, 2021
Meanwhile, on April 6, U.S. defense secretary Lloyd Austin said the US doesn’t “have a plan to shoot the rocket down” and is hopeful it will “land in a place where it won’t harm anyone.”