Latest Updates CZ-5B (Long March 5B) Rocket Reentry

Visual of reentry over Jordan at 0211UTC (10:11 am Brunei):

Confirmed Crash site , Indian Ocean

The reentry window is from 09:00 am until 11:00 am (Brunei Time) on 09 May 2021. Here are some sites which monitor the deorbiting Long March 5B rocket body:

Updated for 09 May 2021 02:11 (UTC) ยฑ 60 minutes reentry. 90% of this ground track is over ocean. (Source: Note: Possible reentry locations lie anywhere along the ground track.
SourcePredicted Reentry TimeImpact Location
N2yo.comN/A (Live Tracking only)N/A May 2021 01:00 – 09 May 2021 19:00 (UTC)
08 May 2021 09:00 – 10 May 2021 04:00 (Brunei)
Aerospace.org09 May 2021 03:02 UTC ยฑ 2 hours
09 May 2021 11:02 (Brunei) ยฑ 2 hours
Space-track.org09 May 2021 02:11 (UTC) ยฑ 60 minutes
09 May 2021 10:11 (Brunei) ยฑ 60 minutes
latitude 35.9
longitude 24.4
(Mediterranean Basin)
EU SST09 May 2021 02:32 (UTC) ยฑ139 minutes
09 May 2021 10:32 (Brunei) ยฑ139 minutes
CelesTrakLive Reentry TrackingPredicted
North Atlantic or Indian Ocean
Updated on 09 May 2021 at 09:00 (Brunei) | Precise location will be determined only AFTER it has already landed |

0900 update
0800 update
0700 update
0700 update
0500 update
0300 update
01:30 am update

Based on latest predictions (Jonathan McDowell): Passes narrows down to one orbit – Costa Rica, Haiti, Iberia, Sardinia, Italy, Greece and Crete, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Australia, New Zealand.

Location & Time in UTC along the Ground Track: W Australia (0104 UTC) to Lake Torrens to Canberra to Wellington (0117 UTC) to S Pacific; Costa Rica (0144 UTC), Haiti (0147 UTC) on to the Atlantic; Braga, Portugal (0202 UTC); Valladolid, Spain (0203 UTC), Reus, Spain; Oristano, Sardinia ; Rosarno, Calabria, Italy; Kythira (0208 UTC); Sitia, Crete; Gaza (0211 UTC); Jordan; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (0214 UTC); Dhofar, Oman (0217 UTC).Indian Ocean, then Perth (0236 UTC); then northern Tasmania (0243 UTC), and back to Wellington (0248 UTC).

CelesTrak now provides a live view of the evolving decay of the Long March-5B rocket body that launched TIANHE. – The huge, 100-foot-tall (30 meters) core of a Chinese rocket is tumbling wildly through low-Earth orbit and could make an uncontrolled reentry through the atmosphere in the coming days, according to news reports.

The core belongs to a Long March 5B rocket (a version of China’s largest rocket), which successfully launched a module for China’s planned Tianhe space station into orbit on Wednesday (April 28). Following the module’s deployment, the rocket core was expected to make maneuvers for a controlled reentry into Earth’s atmosphere, according to SpaceNews โ€” however, that didn’t happen.

The rocket is travelling at four miles a second and could fall anywhere between 41 degrees north and south of the equator, an area that also takes in Beijing, Sydney, Delhi and Rio de Janeiro. (Source: The Sun)

Ground-based radars soon detected the rocket core tumbling through orbit, oscillating between altitudes of 106 and 231 miles (170 and 372 kilometers) above Earth’s surface and traveling at more than 15,840 mph (25,490 km/h). (The U.S. military designated the object 2021-035B, and you can monitor its progress around the planet here.)

The drag of Earth’s atmosphere will eventually tug the rocket core out of orbit โ€” however, given the object’s high speed and variable altitude, it’s impossible to predict exactly where or when it will fall toward Earth’s surface. Much of the core will likely burn up in the planet’s atmosphere, SpaceNews reported, but there is a chance that some chunks of debris will survive the reentry and rain down on the land or ocean.

This, sadly, wouldn’t be the first time. In May 2020, a Long March 5B rocket slammed through the atmosphere, partially burning up on its descent, Live Science previously reported. The core fell largely into the Atlantic Ocean, but some debris landed in West Africa. According to the South China Morning Post, some chunks of debris crashed into inhabited villages in Cรดte d’Ivoire, though thankfully no casualties were reported.

Jonathan McDowell, a Harvard astrophysicist and orbital object tracker, noted at the time that the Long March 5B core was the heaviest object to make an uncontrolled reentry through the atmosphere in nearly three decades. Before breaking apart, the core weighed about 19.6 tons (17,800 kilograms); the last time a heavier object made an uncontrolled reentry was in 1991, when the 43-ton (39,000 kg) Salyut-7 Soviet space station fell through the atmosphere over Argentina, McDowell wrote on Twitter.

In a recent interview with SpaceNews, McDowell noted that the core currently tumbling through orbit is about seven times more massive than the Falcon 9 rocket’s second stage that lit up the sky over Seattle about a month ago. If the core reenters at night, it could produce a similar light show.

This was the first of 11 planned launches involved in the construction of China’s Tianhe, or “Heavenly Harmony,” space station, according to SpaceNews. The station is expected to be complete in late 2022.

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