Airports forced to close as out-of-control Chinese rocket crashes to Earth

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    Spain has closed its airspace after the out-of-control Chinese space rocket crashing back to Earth looks to be heading towards the country.

    Airports in Barcelona, Tarragona, Ibiza and Reus are known to have grounded all flights, with reports that other regions including La Rioja and Castilla and Leon also affected.

    The closures could last for up to three hours.

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    A spokesman for Catalonia’s Civil Protection Agency confirmed: “Due to the risk associated with the passage of the CZ-5B space object crossing Spanish airspace, flights have been completely restricted from 9.38am to 10.18am in Catalonia and other communities.

    “Airports and other organisations have already been informed.”

    Spanish air traffic controllers tweeted: “Eurocontrol has informed us about the non-controlled re-entry of a Chinese rocket into the Earth’s atmosphere.

    “Rate Zero has been established for certain parts of Spanish airspace and that could affect air traffic by way of delays and diversions.”

    Aerospace experts expect debris from the 21-tonne piece, which is the same size as a 10-storey building, will break into the atmosphere on Saturday (November 5).

    Scientists are now calling on Chinese authorities to provide more information in a bid to determine the path of the rocket, which was launched from Tiangong Space Station on Monday.

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    Gregory Henning, project leader at The Aerospace Corporation’s Centre for Orbital Debris and Reentry Studies (CORDS), told the Daily Mail yesterday: "As the rocket body’s altitude decreases and the re-entry approaches, the window will shrink, and will begin to reveal locations that will not be the landing site.

    "But the exact location will not be known until it actually enters, suggesting that there is still too much uncertainty to make a prediction about where the rocket will land at this point – despite the fact that its re-entry is expected in just two days' time."

    It is thought that around 88% of the world's population lives within the areas of potential landing zones for the rocket – including Spain.

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