Chinese rocket debris forces Spain to close part of its airspace

Chinese rocket debris forces Spain to close part of its

Spain briefly closed part of its airspace on Friday (November 4) due to debris from a Chinese rocket that passed through the area and disrupted air traffic over several cities, including Barcelona.

The flights were totally suspended for 40 minutes in Catalonia, northeastern Spain, as well as other parts of the north of the country, “ due to the risks associated with the passage of the CZ-5B space object through Spanish airspace “, tweeted the civil protection of Catalonia. The partial closure of the airspace began at 9:38 a.m. local time (8:38 a.m. UT), the same source said. It was later lifted.

As a result, flights to or from Barcelona, ​​the capital of Catalonia, but also Tarragona, Reus or Ibiza, in the Mediterranean archipelago of the Balearic Islands, suffered disruptions, underlined the national airport manager, Aena .

Low risk of landfall

The Long March 5B (CZ-5B) rocket took off on Monday from southern China to deliver the last module of a chinese space station currently under construction. Debris from that rocket fell into the Pacific Ocean at 11:01 a.m. Spanish time (10:01 a.m. UT), the US Space Command said in a tweet.

A rocket’s entry into the atmosphere gives off immense heat and friction, segments of which may then burn up and disintegrate, but larger craft, such as the Long March-5B, may not be entirely destroyed. The risk is then that their debris land on the surface of the earth and cause damage, even victims, even if this risk is low, the planet being covered with 70% of water.

This is not the first time that China has lost control of a space object during a return to Earth. In July, the remains of a Chinese rocket fell into the Sulu Sea in the Philippines, angering US officials, including NASA, who blamed Beijing for not sharing the information. on the potentially dangerous fall of this debris.

In 2020, debris from another Long March rocket had crushed on villages in Ivory Coast, causing damage, but no injuries. The Asian giant has been investing billions of euros for several decades in its space program.

(With AFP)

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