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

Chinese rocket debris forces Spain to temporarily shut down ;vely part of its airspace

MISE À DAY

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

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

The partial airspace closure began at 9:38 a.m. local time (8:38 a.m. GMT), it said. it is specified from the same source.

As a result, flights from or to 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 .

The Long March 5B (CZ-5B) rocket lifted off from southern China on Monday to deliver the last module of a Chinese space station currently under construction.

Debris of that rocket fell into the Pacific Ocean at 11:01 a.m. Spanish time (10:01 a.m. GMT), the US Space Command said in a tweet.

Entering a rocket's 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.&nbsp ;

The risk is then that their debris will land on the surface of the Earth and cause damage or even victims, even if this risk is low, the planet being covered with 70% of water.< /p>

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 had fallen into the Sulu Sea, in the Philippines, which had provoked the ire of American officials, including those of NASA, who had criticized Beijing for not having shared information on the potentially dangerous fall of this debris .

In 2020, debris from another Long March rocket crashed into villages in Côte d'Ivoire, causing damage, but no injuries.

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