Flights grounded in Spain as out-of-control Chinese rocket plummets back to Earth


    Spain is on red alert and has cancelled flights amid fears that a Chinese rocket making an uncontrolled re-entry back into Earth’s atmosphere will come crashing down into its airspace, causing havoc for wishful European travelers today. Parts of China’s Long March 5B rocket have already been detected in Earth’s atmosphere, forcing several airports in Spain, including Barcelona, Tarragona, Reus and Ibiza, to close their airspace. 


    Spanish air traffic controllers wrote in an alert on Twitter: “Eurocontrol reports the uncontrolled re-entry of a Chinese rocket into the atmosphere. Rate Zero has been established for certain areas of Spanish airspace and this may affect air traffic in the form of delays on the ground and route deviations in flight.”

    Now, flights are expected to be cancelled throughout the day, with others being diverted as hopeful holiday-goers unlikely to reach tourist hotspots on schedule, from the Canary Islands to Lisbon as air control ground centres stay on high alert. 

    The predicted trajectory of debris from China’s 21-ton rocket, which is the size of a 10-storey building, is expected to pass over Europe and requires “careful monitoring”, according to the EU (European Union) Space Surveillance and Tracking site, which is keeping tabs on the debris.

    The organisation said: “Object CZ-5B has a mass ranging from 17 to 23 tonnes and a size of about 30 metres, which makes it one of the largest pieces of debris re-entering in the near past and therefore it deserves careful monitoring.”


    The Chinese rocket was not expected to return to Earth until the early hours of Saturday, but the impact will arrive earlier than first thought, expected on Friday before 12:30pm.

    While the space junk may pass over European airspace, it is hoped that it will come plunging into the Indian ocean.

    This is a breaking story. More to follow. 


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