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The crash of China’s Long March 5B core stage: first rough prediction

Long March 5B reentry prediction as of 11/2/22

The Aerospace Corporation has made its first rough estimate of the uncontrolled reentry of the core stage of China’s Long March 5B rocket that launched the Mengtian module to its Tiangong-3 space station on October 31st.

The prediction at present is very uncertain, covering about 20 orbits (about 30 hours) centered on November 5, 2021 over the Atlantic Ocean northeast of Brazil, as shown in the graphic to the right. Though this prediction will eventually narrow down to less than one full orbit, it will never be possible to predict in advance the core stage’s exact impact point. As the margin of error shrinks, the predictions will come more frequently.

At this moment, however, the core stage’s orbit crosses over most of the habitable areas of the Earth, and thus all those regions are under threat.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • John

    Does anyone know what became of the Falcon heavy core booster? The flew it in a mode where it doesn’t come back to land and uses all its fuel for the payload. I’m assuming it doesn’t orbit and reenter randomly like Long March 5B.

  • Edward

    John asked: “Does anyone know what became of the Falcon heavy core booster?

    It fell into the Atlantic Ocean. It probably came down around 400 or so miles from the Florida coast. The difference is that China’s Long March 5B core burns all the way to orbit, like the Shuttle Orbiter did, but the Falcons have an upper stage that takes over from the booster stage. Falcon is a two stage to orbit rocket whereas the Long March 5B is a stage and a half. The Long March 5B’s half-stage is the booster rockets that drop off during launch. Another example of a stage and a half is the Atlas rocket:

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