Spain and France were forced to ground flights at several airports as an uncontrolled 24-tonne Chinese rocket was launched towards Earth.
Airports in Barcelona, Ibiza, Reus, Tarragona canceled flights on Friday morning as the Long March 5B rocket, which launched the third piece of communist China’s space station on Monday, was expected to crash back to earth. El País mentionted. France was also forced closed airspace near Corsica from 9:30 to 10:30 am. local time as well.
The station’s third and final piece, Mengtian, or “Celestial Dream,” successfully joined the rest of the Tiangong, or “Celestial Palace” space station after a docking procedure Thursday afternoon, according to Chinese state media. Global Times he claimed.
According to the United States Space Administration, the booster rocket is re-entering the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean this morning. No injuries or damage have been reported at the time of reporting. The US agency he said: “PHIor details of the impact location of the uncontrolled reentry, we refer you once again to [People’s Republic of China].”
Unlike other missiles, which are usually programmed to crash into the Pacific Ocean, Chinese missiles remain uncontrolled as they crash back to earth. While most of the rocket is expected to break up on reentry, about 20 to 40 percent of the 24-ton booster is expected to land somewhere on Earth.
Our latest prediction for #CZ5B Missile body reentry is:
Ὠ04 Nov 2022 11:20 UTC ± 3 hours
Re-entry will be along one of the ground tracks shown here. It is still too early to determine a substantial debris footprint. Follow here for updates: https://t.co/KZZ9LgLk0k pic.twitter.com/GlnE8C0Iok
— The Aerospace Corporation (@AerospaceCorp) November 3, 2022
Earlier this year, another Long March-5B missile landed over Malaysia, eventually falling harmlessly into the Philippine Sea. In May last year, a Long March missile booster crashed in the Arabian Peninsula, and the previous year several buildings were damaged in Ivory Coast as metal debris rained down on villages in the West African nation from another Chinese missile.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson previously criticized the communist country for its unsafe practices, saying in July: “All spaceflight nations should follow established best practices and do their part to share this type of information in advance to allow reliable predictions of potential debris impact risk, especially for heavy lift vehicles such as the Long March 5B, which carry a significant risk of loss of life and property.
“This is critical to the responsible use of space and to ensuring the safety of people here on Earth.”
#USSPACECOM can confirm the People’s Republic of China Long March 5B #CZ5B rocket re-entered the atmosphere over the south-central Pacific Ocean at 4:01 a.m. MDT/10:01 UTC on 4/11. For details on the uncontrolled reentry impact location, we refer you once again to #PRC.
— US Space Command (@US_SpaceCom) November 4, 2022
The Aerospace Corporation, a California-based nonprofit research center funded by the government, said of the latest uncontrolled Chinese missile: “More than 88 percent of the world’s population lives under the potential debris footprint of the entry.
“Factors such as the uncontrolled descent of the rocket’s core and its size, which is too large to fully burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere, collectively present risks high enough to require additional precautionary preparation around the world.
Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka