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Risk of Damage from Chinese Space Debris Extremely Small

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The chance that Chinese space junk will damage one of these days when it comes down to Earth is minimal.


A government spokesman in Beijing emphasized this shortly after warnings in the United States that a retired Chinese missile would be dangerous for inhabited areas and aviation.

It is not known where any debris from the launcher will land because there is no longer any control over the 30-meter-high colossus. According to the European space agency ESA, the debris will land in Europe, probably in Southern Europe.

More than a week after launch, the Long March 5B launcher is still doing its last orbits around the Earth. The missile launched the Tianhe (Celestial Harmony) module for a Chinese space station and could return to the atmosphere.

It is now virtually impossible to predict which parts will burn or crash. But according to Beijing, there is no cause for concern, and warnings can always be given in good time. Most objects burn up entirely on re-entry into the atmosphere. But a year ago, debris from a Long March 5B rocket ended up in Ivory Coast, damaging homes.

China is busy with space projects, and if a Chinese space station is functioning, it could be the only one. After more than twenty busy years, the International Space Station ISS has ‘worn out’ and is looking forward to the last few years.

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