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Friday, 18 June 2021

China’s out-of-control rocket passes over Egypt every day: Official

The crossing duration does not exceed 3.5 minutes, El-Kady said

Ahram Online , Thursday 6 May 2021
Long March 5B
File Photo: A Long March 5B rocket carrying a module for a Chinese space station lifts off from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in Wenchang in southern China's Hainan Province, Thursday, April 29, 2021. AP

An out-of-control Chinese rocket passes over Egypt every day, head of Egypt's National Research Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics (NRIA) Gad El-Kady said on Thursday.

In TV statements to state channel’s Sabah El-Kheir ya Masr, El-Kady said the rocket passes over Egypt at an altitude ranging from 160km to 360km, yet the crossing duration does not exceed 3.5 minutes. 

He said that the rocket last passed by Egypt at 5:34am on Thursday, adding that it is too early to determine when the rocket’s debris will fall. 

The rocket is orbiting around Earth every 90 minutes at approximately 27,600km/h. 

“We hope that the rocket’s control devices function when it [the rocket] is close to the earth’s atmosphere… then the Chinese team would be able to control it,” he said, adding that failing to control the rocket will lead to debris falling and destroying a village or more. 

On 29 April, China launched an unmanned module containing what will become living quarters for three crew members on a permanent space station that it plans to finalise by the end of 2022. 

The module, named Tianhe, was launched on the Long March 5B, the country’s biggest carrier rocket. 

The 30-metre (100ft) long stage is believed to be among the biggest space debris to fall to Earth in the coming days as scientists fear the uncontrolled re-entry to Earth will end life where the rocket will fall. 

The White House said on Wednesday the US Space Command is tracking the debris of the Chinese rocket, stressing commitment to “addressing the risks of growing congestion due to space debris and growing activity in space.”

The Global Times, a Chinese tabloid published by the country’s official People’s Daily, downplayed the risk, reporting that the debris will likely fall in international waters. 

It described reports of the rocket being "out of control" and could cause damage as "Western hype." 

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