Spaceflight Now's U.S. military tracking unguided re-entry of large Chinese rocket includes the following:
In the case of the Long March 5B, the core stage delivered its payload — a prototype Chinese crew capsule — into a low-altitude orbit. The heavy-lift Long March 5B is designed to directly inject payloads into low Earth orbit without an upper stage, meaning the core stage also ends up in orbit, instead of immediately falling back to Earth in a predetermined downrange drop zone.
- Would this then be regarded as a single-stage-to-orbit, and a survivor of astronaut Don Petit's tyranny?
- Are core stages going to start falling unpredictably from orbit† somewhat regularly now?
†as opposed to falling a long distance but somewhat predictably down range into the ocean as planned, or landing on a boat††.
††yes it's a ship not a "boat", looking for the original video where Musk made this clear in a press conference.