Where China’s Rocket Space Junk Might Land

(FreedomBeacon.com)- Last Tuesday, the Philippines Space Agency issued a rocket debris notice warning that debris from a Chinese rocket launched earlier that day was expected to fall near populated areas of the Philippines.

The Long March 7A (CZ-72) rocket launched from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in China on Tuesday carrying the Zhongxing-1E satellite into orbit.

Rockets are typically designed to carry out controlled descents after deploying their payloads into orbit, burning up in the atmosphere over an uninhabited area like the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Lately, however, the risk of debris landing in inhabited regions has been increasing.

In July, scientists calculated that the risk of one or more casualties from space debris hitting the ground over the next ten years has increased to 10 percent.

The increase in risk is likely due to the increase in the number of rocket launches from both governments and the private sector in recent years. The risk is especially high in the southern latitudes of the planet.

The Philippines Space Agency identified two potential drop zones for the CZ-72, one 71 km from Burgos, Ilocos Norte, and another 52 km from Sta. Ana, Cagayan.

The agency explained that although the debris is unlikely to fall on land features or directly on inhabited areas, the falling debris would still pose a considerable threat to ships, aircraft, fishing boats, and other vessels passing through the potential drop zones.

It was unclear when or where the debris would re-enter the atmosphere.

In late July, the core stage of China’s Long March 5B rocket landed in Philippine waters while additional debris was also found around Malaysia. While no casualties were reported, the debris did end up near villages. It was concluded that the rocket’s debris was not placed in a controlled descent, making it difficult to predict ahead of time where the debris would land.