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MAL - Magellan Aerospace News Story

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Last Trade - 25/10/21

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Industrials
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Market Cap £366.3m
Enterprise Value £384.8m
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Position in Universe 394th / 2701

UPDATE 2-Chinese rocket debris set for re-entry by early Sunday - tracking centres

Sat 8th May, 2021 4:08pm
(Adds latest reentry timing prediction from the Aerospace
Corporation, details on future rocket launches)
    SHANGHAI, May 8 (Reuters) - Remnants of China's largest
rocket launched last week are expected to plunge back through
the atmosphere late Saturday or early Sunday, European and U.S.
tracking centres said on Saturday.
    China's foreign ministry said on Friday that most debris
from the rocket will burn on re-entry and is highly unlikely to
cause any harm, after the U.S. military said that what it called
an uncontrolled re-entry was being tracked by U.S. Space
Command.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2MU0FE
    EU Space Surveillance and Tracking (EU SST) said its latest
prediction for the timing of the re-entry of the Long March 5B
rocket body was 190 minutes either side of 0211 GMT on Sunday. 
    The Center for Orbital Reentry and Debris Studies (CORDS) at
Aerospace Corporation, a U.S. federally funded space-focused
research and development centre, updated its prediction for
re-entry to four hours on either side of 0330 GMT on Sunday. 
    EU SST said on its website that the statistical probability
of a ground impact in populated areas is "low", but noted that
the uncontrolled nature of the object made any predictions
uncertain.
    The Long March 5B - comprising one core stage and four
boosters - lifted off from China's Hainan island on April 29
with the unmanned Tianhe module, which contains what will become
living quarters on a permanent Chinese space station. The rocket
is set to be followed by 10 more missions to complete the
station.  
    Long March 5 rockets have been integral to China's near-term
space ambitions - from the delivery of modules and crew of its
planned space station to launches of exploratory probes to the
Moon and even Mars.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2MM0CZ
    The Long March launched last week was the second deployment
of the 5B variant since its maiden flight in May last year.
    Harvard-based astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell previously
told Reuters there is a chance that pieces of the rocket could
come down over land, perhaps in a populated area, as in May
2020, when pieces from the first Long March 5B rained down on
the Ivory Coast, damaging several buildings, though no injuries
were reported.
    Debris from Chinese rocket launches is not uncommon within
China. In late April, authorities in the city of Shiyan, Hubei
Province, issued a notice to people in the surrounding county to
prepare for evacuation as parts were expected to land in the
area.
    "The Long March 5B reentry is unusual because during launch,
the first stage of the rocket reached orbital velocity instead
of falling down range as is common practice," the Aerospace
Corporation said in a blog post. 
    "The empty rocket body is now in an elliptical orbit around
Earth where it is being dragged toward an uncontrolled
re-entry."
    The empty core stage has been losing altitude since last
week, but the speed of its orbital decay remains uncertain due
to unpredictable atmospheric variables.
    It is one of the largest pieces of space debris to return to
Earth, with experts estimating its dry mass to be around 18 to
22 tonnes.
    The core stage of the first Long March 5B that returned to
Earth last year weighed nearly 20 tonnes, surpassed only by
debris from the Columbia space shuttle in 2003, the Soviet
Union's Salyut 7 space station in 1991, and NASA's Skylab in
1979.     

 (Reporting by Andrew Galbraith, Winni Zhou and Gabriella
Borter; editing by Ryan Woo, Simon Cameron-Moore and Diane
Craft)
 ((Andrew.Galbraith@tr.com; +86 21 2083 0079; Reuters Messaging:
andrew.galbraith.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net ; Twitter: https://twitter.com/apgalbraith))
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