Spanish airports shut airspace as Chinese rocket plummets back to earth

4 November 2022, 12:59 | Updated: 4 November 2022, 15:25

Some Spanish airports were forced to close earlier
Some Spanish airports were forced to close earlier. Picture: Alamy/Social media

By Asher McShane

Several airports in Spain closed off airspace this morning because of the out-of-control Chinese rocket that fell back to earth.

Fights into and out of Barcelona, Tarragona, Ibiza and Reus were grounded.

There were reports other regions including La Rioja and Castilla and Leon were also affected.

Flights were ‘totally restricted’ for around 40 minutes in Catalonia and other regions ‘due to the risk associated with the passage of the space object Cz-5B through the Spanish airspace,” Catalonia’s civil protection service tweeted.

Spain’s airport operator said flights in and out of Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, Tarragona, Reus and Ibiza in the Balearic Islands and other destinations were temporarily disrupted.

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China launched its Tiangong space station on Monday, but warnings were issued about the rocket’s 23-tonne body plummeting back to the surface of the planet.

Spain had been identified as a potential crash site but it splashed down in the Pacific.

Debris from the rocket was being tracked live by EU Space Surveillance and Tracking monitoring service.

Initial remnants of the rocket re-entered the atmosphere at 10.08am today.

Most of the module was expected to burn up on re-entry to earth’s atmosphere.

A Canadian astronomer wrote online: “Another Uncontrolled Chinese Rocket Is About to Crash Back to Earth.

“It's currently expected to end up somewhere on the surface of our planet late Friday or Saturday.

“The uncertainty of where the large debris will ultimately land presents a level of risk to human safety and property damage that is well above commonly accepted thresholds. If your latitude is higher than that of France or Portland, Oregon, you're probably in the clear.”