Your Chinese Rocket Reentry Questions Answered

ATV-1 Reentry from February, 2015. Image courtesy European Space Agency
The final prediction for the Long March 5B rocket body reentry on May 9, 2:14 UTC.
Long March 5B Reentry Path estimates compared. This image shows that the CORDS’ prediction was the correct path, but estimated the reentry +40 minutes later.
This image shows the reported reentry sites by both SpaceTrack (May 9, 2:14 UTC) and the China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO) (May 9, 2:24 UTC), as well as Aerospace Corporation’s reentry prediction as of May 8, 20:34 UTC. Both reported reentry sites fall on the same revolution predicted by the Aerospace Corporation within 50 minutes of the center of the predicted reentry time window. This is well within the +/- 2 hour reentry window.
This diagram shows the narrowing range of reentry estimates from the start of tracking the Long March 5B.
This plot shows the history of CORDS’ reentry time predictions for the CZ-5B rocket body compared with the actual reentry time reported by SpaceTrack. Each red dot represents the reentry prediction based on a new TLE, a measurement of the CZ-5B’s current orbit . The solid green line represents the actual reported reentry time, and the dashed green lines represent the typical +/- 20% time-until-reentry uncertainty window.
Space Surveillance Network Map
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The Aerospace Corporation

The Aerospace Corporation

We operate the only federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) committed exclusively to the space enterprise.

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