Just an FYI: A 21-ton Chinese rocket kinda sorta accidentally went into orbit and it’s going to come down... nobody knows where. Carry on.

May 2nd

The Chinese Long March-5B Y2 rocket last week successfully placed the first module of a Chinese space station into low-earth orbit. Unfortunately, it also placed itself into lower-earth orbit without any means to maintain that orbit or to de-orbit in a controlled manner.

I'm sorry. Did I call it the Chinese Long March-5B Y2 rocket? How Xenophobic of me. I mean really, I don't know it's from China. I'm just assuming. It could be from anywhere when you think about it. Italy, Mar-a-Lago, maybe it was a U.S. military operation. Who's to say?

So, I will call it by its official designation, 2021-035B.

Here is a graphical representation of what happened with 2021-035B, the origin of which we can only surmise from news reports, pictures, government announcements and conjecture.

That blue line is the space station module, its upward trajectory suggesting it is on its way to achieving a stable orbit.

The red line is the opposite of that.

This is not the first time that this particular rocket has had this exact same mishap, and it was thought that whoever was responsible for it might have made some modifications, including an ability to de-orbit in a controlled fashion.

But what fun would there be in that? Now we all get to play "Launch Rocket Lottery!"

Reentry is expected sometime within the next week or so.

Fortunately, we've managed to narrow down where it could eventually make impact. (Language warning if you click through.)

Good news if you're on an expedition to the Arctic.


There has been no official guidance yet from the Biden White House, although I assume they will advise that in the interest of safety, you wear three masks.

In totally unrelated news, capitalism rules.


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