Chinese missile debris forces Spain to briefly close part of its airspace

Spanish authorities said Spain briefly closed part of its airspace on Friday after a Chinese missile penetrated the area and disrupted air traffic over several cities, including Barcelona.

Flights were “completely” suspended for 40 minutes in Catalonia (northeast Spain), as well as in other northern regions of the country, “due to the risks associated with the passage of space object CZ-5B in Spanish airspace.” Protect Catalonia tweeted.

The same source said that the partial closure of the airspace began at 9:38 am local time (8:38 am GMT).

As a result, flights to or from Barcelona, ​​the capital of Catalonia, as well as Tarragona, Reus or Ibiza, in the Mediterranean archipelago of the Balearic Islands, suffered disruptions, as confirmed by the director of the national airport, Aina.

A Long March 5B (CZ-5B) rocket blasted off from southern China on Monday to deliver the last unit to a Chinese space station currently under construction.

The US Space Command said in a tweet on Twitter that the wreckage of the rocket landed in the Pacific Ocean at 11:01 am Spanish time (10:01 GMT).

The rocket’s entry into the atmosphere creates tremendous heat and friction, parts of which may burn up and disintegrate, but larger vehicles, such as Long March-5B, may not be completely destroyed.

The danger, then, is that its debris falls on the surface of the Earth and causes damage, even victims, even if this risk is low, the planet is covered by 70% water.

This is not the first time that China has lost control of a space object while returning to Earth.

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In July, the remains of a Chinese missile fell into the Sulu Sea in the Philippines, angering US officials, including those at NASA, who blamed Beijing for not sharing information about the potentially dangerous fall of this wreck.

In 2020, the wreckage of another Long March missile crashed into villages in Côte d’Ivoire, causing damage but no casualties.

The Asian giant has invested billions of euros for several decades in its space program.

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