The remains of a Chinese space rocket have fallen into the Pacific, according to Beijing. The Chinese space program announced the coordinates of the impact site on Friday, after which debris landed in the Pacific off the Central American coast. Most parts of the "Long March 5B" rocket were burned up and destroyed when it re-entered the earth's atmosphere.
The re-entry took place at 6:08 p.m. Chinese time (11:08 a.m. CET). The US Forces Space Command previously tweeted that the missile had entered the atmosphere over the Pacific.
Because according to previous calculations it would have been possible for the rocket to crash over parts of southern Europe, the airspace over Spain was temporarily closed on Friday morning. The reason for the closure of the airspace was a warning from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The airports of Barcelona, Tarragona and Ibiza were affected, as reported by Spanish media, citing civil defense.
The space debris comes from a rocket that China used to launch the last module of its Tiangong space station, which is currently under construction, into space on Monday. The re-entry of large Chinese rocket parts into the earth's atmosphere has repeatedly triggered international criticism. According to official information from Beijing, rocket parts fell into the sea near the Philippines in July.
Even though experts considered the likelihood of people or populated areas being hit to be low, there was criticism from NASA and experts of the Chinese approach. "No other country leaves these 20-ton things in orbit to re-enter Earth's atmosphere in an uncontrolled manner," astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics told CNN in July.