The section is part of a rocket called Chinese Long March 5B, which launched a module of the country's first permanent space station into orbit last week.
Officials have been tracking the rocket body's uncontrolled return to Earth for several days now, estimating when it might reenter the atmosphere.
The rocket body's reentry is currently projected at anywhere between 7:30 p.m. ET and 1:30 a.m. ET, according to the latest U.S. Space Force data.
Latest TIP (as of 2021-05-08 1416Z) for CZ-5B (#LongMarch5B) (48275 / 2021-035B) shows projected re-entry at 2021-05-09 0227(UTC) +/- 180 minutes at latitude -3.9 longitude 79.4— Space-Track (@SpaceTrackOrg) May 8, 2021
NOTE: Still not a precise time or location, given the window; both will still vary ovr the next 12 hrs
The U.S. Space Force has projected four possible orbits for reentry in play -- three over water, one over land.
Potential landings over land are subject to change, but currently include the Southeastern U.S., Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, parts of Southern Europe, much of Northern and Central Africa, the Middle East, Southern India and Australia.
CelesTrak just added a fully interactive view of the Long March-5B reentry with corridors that more accurately reflect how this event evolves and where reentry can reasonably be expected to be seen (based on @18SPCS data): https://t.co/Gdwbvsms0Y. pic.twitter.com/fH21mgjnpu— T.S. Kelso (@TSKelso) May 8, 2021
Since the rocket section is moving at 18,000 mph, experts won't be able to estimate a reentry location until a few hours before it happens.
People can follow the latest reentry time estimates at Space Track, which is working with the U.S. Space Force on tracking the debris.
The massive rocket body measures 98 feet long and 16.5 feet wide and weighs 21 metric tons, according to the Aerospace Corporation, a nonprofit that performs technical analyses and assessments for a variety of government, civil and commercial customers.
Instead of falling downrange during the launch, the empty rocket body reached orbital velocity, which placed it "in an elliptical orbit around Earth where it is being dragged toward an uncontrolled reentry," the corporation explained in a blog post.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.