Ireland 'entirely safe' from crashing Chinese rocket, expert says

The rocket is expected to land somewhere on Earth sometime around 2.30am Irish time on Sunday morning.
Ireland 'entirely safe' from crashing Chinese rocket, expert says

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. Picture: Chinatopix via AP

Experts say a Chinese rocket weighing almost 20 tonnes that is falling towards Earth will not go anywhere near Ireland.

The Long March 5B rocket was launched on April 29 from Wenchang Space Launch Centre.

The spacecraft was carrying Tianhe, the first module of China's future space station, into orbit.

It is hoped that the rocket, which is around the height of an eight-storey building, will have been largely burned up after it passes through the Earth's atmosphere.

Space commentator Leo Enright says authorities are "particularly worried" about some parts of Europe including Spain, Portugal, Sardinia, parts of Italy, and parts of northern Greece.

Mr Enright told Newstalk: "This rocket stage is now a piece of junk spinning around the Earth at seven kilometres a second and is going to crash to Earth sometime tonight or early Sunday morning."

He added that it is easier to predict where the debris isn't going to land, rather than anticipate which location it will hit on Earth.

Mr Enright continued: "We know that most of Europe, including Ireland, is entirely safe because of the angle of the orbit of this thing, it's not going to hit anywhere near Ireland.

"Parts of North America, Canada for instance, parts of the northwest United States, most of southern Africa are all safe.

"But the rest of the Earth, the populated areas of South America, North Africa, Asia, India, Australia and importantly, southern Europe, are still in the frame potentially for this thing to fall onto the ground."

The rocket is expected to land somewhere on Earth sometime around 2.30am Irish time on Sunday morning.

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