Out-of-control Chinese rocket expected to fly over Egypt Friday night

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Fri, 07 May 2021 - 02:37 GMT

The Long March 5 Y-4 rocket, carrying an unmanned Mars probe of the Tianwen-1 mission, takes off from Wenchang Space Launch Center in Wenchang, Hainan Province, China July 23, 2020. Reuters

The Long March 5 Y-4 rocket, carrying an unmanned Mars probe of the Tianwen-1 mission, takes off from Wenchang Space Launch Center in Wenchang, Hainan Province, China July 23, 2020. Reuters

CAIRO – 7 May 2021: The out-of-control Chinese Long March rocket traveling at 18,000 mph is expected to again fly over Egypt tonight for seven minutes starting 10:33 PM, said Makram Ibrahim, the head of Solar and Space Research Department, National Research Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics (NRIAG).

Ibrahim in a NRIAG online conference said the rocket, however, cannot be easily seen while flying over Egypt, noting that its earlier passes over Egypt only lasted for two minutes.

Ibrahim said the NRIAG is continuously contacting the Chinese side to follow up on the developments of the rocket situations.

China launched the 30-meter long, 21-ton rocket in April to carry the first module of the Chinese future space station into orbit.

The rocket, however, went out of control and its body is currently circling around the world once every 90 minutes. It is about to enter the lower atmosphere and land on a yet unknown place.

Ibrahim said space wreckage accidents are repetitive and such incident is not the first of its kind.

He added that the NRIAG operation room is following up continuously on the crisis.

Ahmed Magdy, a NRIAG researcher, said the Chinese rocket is traveling around earth more than 16 times per day. Magdy said the rocket is currently traveling at 7.7 KM/second.

Shafiq Kahil, a NRIAG researcher, said the rocket is expected to fall on 8 or 9 May or maybe later. He said the rocket has more than 70 percent chance to land on a water body as water represents over 70 percent of earth.

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