Chinese Space Junk Prompts Spanish Airspace Closure


China’s latest piece of uncontrolled space junk hit the Pacific Ocean 620 miles off Acapulco in the Pacific Ocean on Friday, but the most serious impact was on the other side of the world. Spain briefly closed large areas of its airspace on Friday morning when a Chinese booster rocket used to propel a section of the country’s space station began breaking up in the atmosphere, according to

“Due to the risk associated with the passage of the space object CZ-5B through the Spanish airspace, flights have been totally restricted from 9:38 a.m. to 10:18 a.m. (0838-0918 GMT) in Catalonia and other communities,” Catalonia’s emergency services said in a tweet. Three other jurisdictions also closed airspace. The short closure canceled dozens of flights and delayed hundreds of others. Many flights were diverted and it took most of the rest of the day to sort out the fractured schedules.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. Apparently the Chinese haven’t figured out the concept of controlled reentry. Maybe they should hire SpaceX to teach them how to land their boosters.

    • Won’t be landing a stage like this anytime soon. Best they could conceivably do is upgrade it to perform a controlled re-entry to burn-up in a safe, predictable location.

  2. I do not think the Chinese are capable of figuring things out, they let others do that and then steal it. Also that shows you that the Chinese do not really give a flip about other people and not even themselves. If Mike S is correct perhaps they are intentionally letting things fall out in the opposite side and could one day claim an accident instead of sending a nuclear missile.

  3. Wow! it seems that a least a few folks are beginning to see the Chinese Communists for what the are. They are superb industrial and military information thieves, do not care about the environment, especially about carbon emissions (although they may be right on that one) essentially never tell the truth (see the most likely cause of the invention and spread of the Chinese Wuhan virus), the list goes on and on. And they own or control most of the GA companies now.

    • DC would just as soon it stay that way, and all our planes rot in the process. Meanwhile, Cessna will happily sell you a 50 year old design with a few upgrades for a years salary before taxes.

      Working as intended? Nah, they just don’t care enough or are too stupid to realize why it matters to them. Maybe they will clue in when thousands of drones looking suspiciously like certified planes from former US companies come loaded with warheads at ourselves and our allies.