The Aerospace Corporation today adjusted its prediction for the uncontrolled crash of the core stage from the Long March 5B rocket that China launched on July 24th.
According to the new prediction, the core stage will return to Earth during a 32 hour period centered on the early morning hours of July 31st above the Middle East.
The map to the right shows this. As you can see, at present the uncertainty of the prediction means the core stage could still crash almost anywhere.
That China has still done nothing to adjust the stage’s orbit now almost certainly confirms it can do nothing. This further confirms that in the year-plus since its last Long March 5B launch in May ’21, it did nothing to fix this fundamental problem. Moreover, this is the rocket’s third launch, all of which involved a core stage crashing uncontrollably. Each launch was thus a direct violation of the Outer Space Treaty, of which China is a signatory.
Another Long March 5B launch is scheduled for later this summer, to launch the last planned module to China’s Tiangong space station. Expect another violation of the treaty then as well.
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