This morning, part of the airspace of Spain and Portugal was affected by an unusual event: an unguided Chinese rocket began to move along unforeseen trajectories during re-entry.
The Long March 5B rocket, which was responsible for transporting parts for the construction of the Chinese space station Tiangong, threatened to fly over the Iberian Peninsula and crash a day ahead of schedule.
The worst didn’t happen, but it set eurocontrol it’s in European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Part of the airspace of the Iberian Peninsula was closed this morning, namely Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, Aragon, Navarre, La Rioja and Castile and León interrupted all their air activities from 09:30 to 09:45. Nearly an hour later, starting at 10:30 a.m., all affected airports gradually resumed operations, although the effects of the delays continued throughout the day.
The area hit by the missile’s trajectory on the first route covers a strip running from the Mediterranean coast to the Atlantic and the width of Catalonia from north to south, reaching Portugal, Spanish newspapers report. Vanguard or ABC.
EASA has issued a rocket safety warning stating that the 17-23-tonne object is re-entering Earth’s atmosphere, at which point it is likely to burn up.
Operating Systems European Union Space Surveillance and Tracking Services (EU SST) said the debris would likely enter Earth’s atmosphere in the mid-Atlantic and sink into the sea, but also warned that northern Spain, Portugal and southern Italy were also on the right track.
“The statistical likelihood of land impacts in human settlements is low,” the EUSST said in a statement. “These predictions are always accompanied by uncertainties, and a more accurate estimate will only be possible closer to re-entry time.”
“Reserved” Portuguese airspace
In an interview with SIC, NAV, the national air traffic controller, explained that it had been instructed by National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) in “reserve airspace“.
Nonetheless, such restrictions “have no effect” in air navigation in Portugal.
China’s most powerful Long March 5B (CZ-5B) rocket lifted off from southern China on October 31 to deliver the last module to China’s currently under construction Taingong space station.
This was the fourth flight since its first launch in May 2020. When he returned, shrapnel landed in Côte d’Ivoire, damaging several buildings in the West African country but causing no harm to people.
The wreckage of the second flight on July 31 of this year landed safely in Indian Ocean, and the remains of a third fell into the Sulu Sea in the Philippines.