BEIJING (AP) — The largest section of the rocket that launched the main module of China’s first permanent space station into orbit is expected to plunge back to Earth as early as Saturday at an unknown location.
Usually, discarded rocket stages are immediately guided into a controlled demolition by friction in Earth’s atmosphere, but the Chinese rocket section was not.
China’s space agency has yet to say whether the “core stage” of the huge Long March 5B rocket is being controlled or will make an out-of-control descent.
Last May, another Chinese rocket fell uncontrolled into the Atlantic Ocean off West Africa.
The U.S. Defense Department expects the rocket stage to fall to Earth on Saturday.