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A HUGE Chinese rocket is making an uncontrolled re-entry back to earth and could land on a major city, experts have a warned.

The 21 ton Long March 5b is returning to earth after launching the first module of China’s new space station and could land on a large area that includes New York or Madrid.

The rocket is currently hurtling back to earth at four miles a second and could fall anywhere between 41degrees north and south, also taking in Beijing, Sydney, Delhi and Rio de Janeiro.

Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer who tracks objects orbiting the earth, said the Long March 5b’s core stage is seven times bigger than the Space X rocket Falcon 9.

Debris from the Falcon 9 rocket came crashing down near Seattle last month, dropping tanks on Washington State in the process.

McDowell said he hopes China has developed the ability for the Long March 5b to make a controlled re-entry separating from Tianhe.

“I think by current standards it’s unacceptable to let it re-enter uncontrolled,” McDowell told Space News.

“Since 1990 nothing over 10 tons has been deliberately left in orbit to re-enter uncontrolled.”

Getty 3 The giant rocket was taking the first module of China’s new space station

Holger Krag, head of the Space Safety Program Office for the European Space Agency, said

China is aware of the potential uncontrolled descent

“It is always difficult to assess the amount of surviving mass and number of fragments without knowing the design of the object, but a reasonable rule-of-thumb is about 20-40 per cent of the original dry mass,” he said.

n May 2020, another Long March 5B rocket slammed through the atmosphere, partially burning up on its descent.

The core fell largely into the Atlantic Ocean, but some debris landed in West Africa.

According to the South China Morning Post, some chunks of debris crashed into inhabited villages in the Ivory Coast, though no injuries were reported.

Getty 3 Astronauts will live in the Tian He module

The module that the rocket was delivering, named Tian He, will become become living quarters for three crew members.

China aims to complete its Chinese Space Station, known as Tiangong by the end of 2022, state media reported, after several further modules are launched.

When complete the space station will orbit Earth at an altitude of 211 to 280 miles.    

The largest and most famous uncontrolled re-entry occurred in 1979 when NASA’s 76-ton Skylab debris across the Indian Ocean and Western Australia. 

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In 2020, a Chinese rocket booster has exploded after landing on a town in the country’s Shaanxi province.

Footage of the incident posted to Chinese social media showed the booster plummeting to Earth following a satellite launch on Monday.

The rocket part erupted in a ball of orange smoke after crashing back to Earth, apparently narrowly missing a school.

China launches key module for space station at Wenchang launch site
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China reports its first new locally transmitted COVID cases in three weeks, sparking mass testing

A worker in a protective suit takes a throat swab for a COVID-19 test in Wenchang in southern China's Hainan Province Mark Schiefelbein/AP Photo

  • China reported seven new COVID cases on May 13, including two locally transmitted infections.
  • The two cases were detected in Lu'an city in Anhui province and sparked a round of mass testing.
  • The Chinese government said this is the first time mainland China has had locally transmitted cases in three weeks. 
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

China has reported new locally transmitted COVID cases for the first time in three weeks. 

According to a statement from the local government in Lu'an city in the country's eastern Anhui province, the city government detected two new cases of COVID on Thursday evening, local time. 

Chinese state media Xinhua wrote that the first case, a 27-year-old woman known as "Li," had been in contact with an imported case in Dalian, a northeastern port city, before flying into Anhui. The second case recorded was a 31-year-old woman known by the surname "Lu," a colleague traveling with Li who shared a hotel room with her.

Xinhua reported separately that the government has classified Lu'an city — a town around six hours from Shanghai — as a medium-risk area. Mass testing of the city's residents also kicked off on Thursday, with the residents of three districts in the city told to report for testing, particularly if they display COVID symptoms.

The Chinese government also announced that five other COVID cases were reported on May 13 — with three cases detected in Guangdong, one in Shanghai, and another in Fujian — but classified them as "imported cases" that were immediately quarantined. Nine imported cases were reported in the country on May 12.

Reuters reported that last time local cases were recorded was on April 20, when China saw two COVID cases surfacing in the Ruili, a county in the southwestern Yunnan province.

According to a Xinhua article on April 29, China saw 364 imported cases in April, a 20% increase from March. Chinese health officials said these cases were picked up through its intense "14+7"-day quarantine measures — where foreigners must undergo 14 days of quarantine at a facility before self-quarantining for a week at home. 

Local media outlet Sina News reported last month that the emergence of these cases in Yunnan resulted in a 72-hour lockdown of the city, which was lifted on April 26. At the time, Chinese epidemiologists speculated that the cases could have come from undocumented migrants from Myanmar — which borders Yunnan province — moving across the border and forming a new cluster in Ruili. 

China — which was previously the epicenter of the COVID pandemic — has kept its cases under control for months. This allowed for a domestic tourism boom during its five-day labor day holiday from May 1 to 5, which Chinese media outlet CGTN wrote involved 230 million domestic trips taken by people across the country.

According to Reuters, the total number of cases in the country stands at 90,815, with 4,636 deaths. However, the BBC reported in April that China might not be entirely transparent about its COVID numbers, as it does not count asymptomatic COVID cases in its records.

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