Thursday, August 11, 2022

India hit by more space debris

HomespaceIndia hit by more space debris

The objects have not been positively recognised by either local officials or the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

However, space observer Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics believes the debris is most likely from the third stage of a Chinese Long March 3B rocket, which reentered the atmosphere on May 12. In September, a rocket carrying China’s ZX-9B communications satellite launched. “We know CZ-3B Y86 reentered that morning,” McDowell said in an email to SpaceNews on May 16. “We don’t know for sure, but its estimated route crosses Gujarat at about the appropriate time, so it’s a good contender, and no other huge objects reentered that morning.” As a result, I conclude that the identification of this debris as CZ-3B Y86 is extremely strong (high confidence, but not decisive).”

If the suspected debris is indeed from a Chinese rocket, it will be the second time in less than two months that Chinese launch debris has fallen on Indian soil.

large metal ring that fell into rural western India April 2

On April 2, India saw the fall of multiple items, including a massive metal ring, into another remote western town. During an onsite assessment on April 15, ISRO experts tentatively identified the items as pieces of a Chinese Long March rocket. McDowell speculated that the crashed items might be elements of the third stage of Long March 3B serial number Y77, which was launched in February 2021, based on pictures and recordings of the wreckage. China has been deafeningly silent on the reentry event.

In addition, there have been numerous additional occasions in recent years in which a Chinese rocket produced an unsettling re-entry.

After days of conjecture — and China’s silence — over where the debris might fall, remains from the nearly 30-meter-long, five-meter-wide core stage of China’s Long March 5B rocket landed into the Indian Ocean in May 2021. NASA chastised China for “failing to satisfy responsible criteria in terms of space debris.”

A year earlier, debris from another Long March 5B rocket landed on at least two towns in Ivory Coast as the rocket’s core stage re-entered the atmosphere uncontrollably.

A spent stage of the Long March 3B rocket crashed near the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in China in November 2019, demolishing a home.