December 5, 2022

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Don’t blame SpaceX for this rocket on a collision course with the Moon

Igor Bonifacic

last january, He said the upper stage of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will hit the moon sometime in early March. As you might expect, anticipation unleashed a wave of Much of it criticizes Elon Musk and his private space company. After all, the event will be A rare misstep for SpaceX.

But it turns out that Elon and his cohorts aren’t about to lose face. Instead, fate will likely befall China. That’s because Gray now says he made a mistake in his initial identification of a piece of space debris that he and other astronomers called it. WE0913A in 2015.

When Gray and his colleagues first discovered the object, several clues led them to believe it was the second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket that carried the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. A satellite in deep orbit in the same year. The object’s identification might not have been reported in the mainstream media if astronomers had not later discovered that it was about to collide with the moon.

Gray said in Posted on Saturday that was spotted . “I had very good circumstantial evidence for identification, but nothing conclusive,” Gray added. “This was not at all unusual. Identification of high-flying space junk often requires a little investigative work, and sometimes, we never find the identifier for a little space junk.”

We might never have known the actual identity of the wreck had it not been for a NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineer . Call Gray on Saturday to inquire about identification. According to Georgini, NASA’s Horizons system, a It can estimate the location and orbit of nearly half a million celestial bodies in our solar system, showing that the DSCOVR spacecraft’s trajectory never came close to the Moon. As such, it would be unusual if the second stage deviated from its course and collided with a satellite. Georginy Gray’s email prompted him to re-examine the data he had used for the initial identification.

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Gray says now he’s reasonably certain that the rocket about to hit the moon belongs to China. In October 2014, the country’s space agency launched its Chang’e 5-T1 Mission on a Long March 3C rocket. After reconstructing the likely path for that mission, it was found that Long March 3C is best suited for the mysterious object about to collide with Earth’s natural satellite. “The orbital restart for the launch of the Chinese spacecraft is very logical,” he said. . “It ends up with an orbit passing through the Moon in time after launch.”

Gray went to say the edge who – which Episodes like this underscore the need for more information about rocket boosters traveling into deep space. “The only people I know who pay attention to these old rocket boosters are the asteroid tracking community,” he told the outlet. “This kind of thing would be a lot easier if the people launching the spacecraft — if there was some regulatory environment where they have to report something.”

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