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Chaos as Spanish airports SHUT DOWN over fears out-of-control 21-ton Chinese rocket plummeting to Earth may smash plane

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SEVERAL Spanish airports have closed their airspace because of an out-of-control 21-ton Chinese rocket plummeting to Earth that may smash a plane.
Flights into and and out of Barcelona, Tarragona, Ibiza and Reus are known to have been grounded with reports other regions including La Rioja and Castilla and Leon have also shut operations.
Several Spanish airports were forced to close due to an out-of-control Chinese rocket3Several Spanish airports were forced to close due to an out-of-control Chinese rocketCredit: GettyLong March-5B Y4 rocket carrying China's lab module Mengtian as it launched on Monday3Long March-5B Y4 rocket carrying China’s lab module Mengtian as it launched on MondayCredit: GettyFlights in several Spanish airports have been grounded3Flights in several Spanish airports have been groundedCredit: ReutersThe measure is expected to last around 40 minutes, although local reports are pointing to the possibility places like Ibiza could be affected for up to three hours.
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.
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“Rate Zero has been established for certain parts of Spanish airspace and that could affect air traffic by way of delays and diversions.”
Canadian Astronomer Erika said the rocket should re-enter Earth either late Friday or early Saturday morning.
She said on Twitter: “The uncertainty of where the large debris will ultimately land presents a level of risk to human safety and property damage that is well above commonly accepted thresholds.
“If your latitude is higher than that of France or Portland, Oregon, you’re probably in the clear.”

China launched the third and final piece of its new Tiangong space station on Monday – and warnings had been sounded about the rocket’s 23-ton body coming back down on Earth with Spain identified as one of the countries in its path.
Some air passengers are understood to have been informed about the Spanish airspace closures after they had already boarded for take-off.
Debris from the rocket was expected to break the atmosphere on Saturday, according to aerospace experts who are scrambling to determine its path back home.
It prompted pleas for further information from Chinese authorities.
Gregory Henning, Project Leader at The Aerospace Corporation’s Centre for Orbital Debris and Reentry Studies (CORDS) suggested that there is still too much uncertainty in the data and models to make a prediction.
“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,” Henning told the Daily Mail.  
“But the exact location will not be known until it actually enters.”
The latest rocket malfunction mirrors a crash in July after space debris from a previous Chinese launch plummeted in the Indian Ocean near Malaysia.
At the time experts failed to disclose its exact location following fears that it could have hit a populated town or village.
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But while major cities again appear to be safe from the falling debris on this occasion, Henning suggested that “88 per cent of the world’s population does live within those at-risk latitude bounds” of the booster’s expected landing area.
However, the odds of an individual being affected are said to be about six in 10 trillion.  

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