Debris from a Chinese Long March 5B missile is expected to hit Earth in the coming days over a yet-to-be-identified location.
As with previous Long March 5B launches, China did not de-orbit the missile after its payload was deployed. This means that the body of the Chinese missile, which weighs 23 tons, will land on the ground over a yet-to-be-determined location, in the coming days.
“For those who have been tracking previous releases on the topic, here we go again,” Ted Mullhaupt, a consultant in the Chief Engineer’s office at The Aerospace Corporation, said during a briefing.
While Moelhaupt was quick to point out that “no one has to change their life because of this,” he pointed out that “88% of the world’s population is at risk, and therefore 7 billion people are at risk,” due to the possibility of missile debris falling on them.
Last July, 5.5 tons to 9.9 tons of Long March 5B crashed into the Indian Ocean. The missile debris also fell into the Indian Ocean in April 2021 after the Chinese space agency did not perform the de-orbiting operation.
In 2020, after the missile was first launched, parts of the vehicle reportedly fell over a populated area in Côte d’Ivoire and damaged a number of buildings.