In a major development, a part of China's Long March 5B (CZ–5B) rocket crash-landed in the Atlantic Ocean on Monday, as per Science Alert. The debris is reportedly the rocket's core and is 30.48 metres, weighing almost 18,000 kgs - making it the biggest rocket debris to fall in the Ocean since 1991. Reports state that rocket was launched on 5 May and spent several days in orbit before re-entering Earth’s atmosphere and crashing off the west coast of northwest Africa.
Astronomer Jonathan McDowell from the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics first tweeted about Long March 5B's uncontrolled descent on Monday. It was then confirmed by the 18th Space Control Squadron - a unit of the US Air Force emphasizing the huge mass of the debris, as per reports. Previous big man-made debris to fall from space were Skylab's rocket stage in 1975 and Salyut 7 in 1991, as per reports.
The CZ-5B-Y1 core stage is in a 155 x 366 km orbit, and is expected to reenter around May 11. At 17.8 tonnes, it is the most massive object to make an uncontrolled reentry since the 39-tonne Salyut-7 in 1991, unless you count OV-102 Columbia in 2003.— Jonathan McDowell (@planet4589) May 7, 2020
On Friday, China announced the landing of the same Long March 5B (CZ–5B) rocket in China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region at 0549 GMT. The spaceflight wrapped up its a three-day unpiloted orbital test flight, according to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp (CASTC). The new spacecraft is designed to eventually replace China’s Shenzhou spacecraft to ferry astronauts to a space station in Earth orbit.
The test spacecraft lifted off Tuesday on Long March 5B rocket - which is China’s most powerful launch vehicle. After separating from the Long March 5B rocket, the crew capsule raised its altitude in a series of seven manoeuvres this week, ultimately reaching an elliptical orbit ranging as far as 5,000 miles (8,000 kilometres) from Earth, according to Chinese space officials. The payloads on the spacecraft included power-generating solar panels, a communications antenna to send and receive data from ground controllers.