Several Spanish airports have closed their airspace because of a Chinese missile that got out of hand.
Flights to and from Barcelona, Tarragona, Ibiza and Reus are known to have been grounded with reports that other regions, including La Rioja and Castilla and Leon, have been affected.
The measure is expected to last around 40 minutes, although local reports point to the possibility that places such as Ibiza could be affected for up to three hours.
The 20-ton module, expected to largely disintegrate in the atmosphere, will fly twice over Spain and the Iberian Peninsula on Friday morning, the European agency responsible for space surveillance said.
Several Spanish airports have closed their airspace because of a Chinese missile that got out of hand. Pictured: The Long March-5B Y4 rocket taking off Monday
The measure is expected to last around 40 minutes, although local reports point to the possibility that places such as Ibiza could be affected for up to three hours. Pictured: Spanish airspace this morning at 9:00 a.m.
A spokesman for the Catalan Agency for Civil Protection confirmed: “Due to the risk associated with the passage of the CZ-5B space object crossing Spanish airspace, flights in Catalonia and other communities have been completely restricted from 9:38 am to 10:18 am.
‘Airports and other organizations have already been informed.’
Spanish air traffic controllers tweeted: ‘Eurocontrol has informed us of the uncontrolled re-entry of a Chinese missile into Earth’s atmosphere.
“Rate Zero is set for certain parts of Spanish airspace and that can affect air traffic due to delays and diversions.”
Some airline passengers are said to have been informed about the closure of Spanish airspace after they had already boarded for take-off.
Flights to and from Barcelona, Tarragona, Ibiza and Reus are known to have been grounded with reports that other regions, including La Rioja and Castilla and Leon, have been affected. Pictured: Barcelona-El Prat . Airport
China launched the third and final piece of its new Tiangong space station on Monday — and warnings had been sounded about the 23-tonne body of the rocket coming back to Earth, identifying Spain as one of the countries in its path.
The modular, called Mengtain, weighs 20 tons and was launched into space from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center in the southern island province of Hainan.
Mengtian, or ‘Celestial Dream’, joins Wentian as the second laboratory module for the station, collectively known as Tiangong or ‘Celestial Palace’. Both are connected to Tianhe’s core module where the crew lives and works.
As it tumbles back to Earth, it will send large and heavy chunks of debris that will hit the surface, according to the New York Times.
The debris’s new path shows it will fly over some parts of Europe and is expected to fall back to Earth before 12:30 p.m. today.
It is expected to land in the Indian Ocean without endangering the population.
Debris from the rocket, which flies around the world at 17,500 miles per hour, is monitored live by EU Space Surveillance and Tracking.
Aerospace Corporation used available data earlier this week to show possible landing sites (shown in yellow)
The rocket had a size of 17.8 meters, a diameter of 4.2 meters and a weight of about 23.3 tons at the time of launch.
Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said: “The missile is designed with special technology; most parts burn and are destroyed during the return process, and the risk of damage to aviation activities and to the ground is extremely small.’
It was initially set to be back in Earth’s atmosphere by morning.
The March Long 5B booster weighs about 21 tons and is about the size of a 10-storey building
Like his predecessors, Mengtian was launched aboard a Long March-5B launch vehicle, a member of China’s most powerful family of launch vehicles, all of which have made uncontrolled crash landings to Earth.
Air and space company previously said “the odds are not zero” that the debris will land in a populated area — in other words, it’s not impossible, so it could happen.
“A reentry of this magnitude will not burn up in Earth’s atmosphere,” says Aerospace Corporation, based in El Segundo, California.
“The general rule of thumb is that 20-40 percent of the mass of a large object will reach the ground, although it depends on the design of the object.”
The Phillippines Space Agency had warned earlier this week that the debris drop zone could be near its islands.
China launched the rocket on October 31, which delivered the last piece of its new space station
The most recent was the rocket’s booster that launched on July 24, and because the booster raced around Earth’s orbit every 90 minutes, the exact point where it would fall from the sky was impossible to predict.
Fortunately, most of the rocket burned up in the atmosphere, but up to 40 percent were predicted to survive the fall from space — and some pieces were recovered in South Asia on July 30.
However, according to reports, there were no injuries from the rubble.
In July, another booster made an uncontrolled reentry, while most of it burned up in the atmosphere, some pieces were recovered in South Asia
“All space countries should follow established best practices and do their part to share this kind of information in advance to make reliable predictions of the potential risk of debris impact,” Nelson said in July.
“This is crucial for the responsible use of space and to ensure the safety of people here on Earth.”
In a press conference on Wednesday, Ted Muelhaupt, a consultant for the Aerospace Corporation, said, “Here we go again.”
This is a news item… More to come.