Chinese space debris could hit tourist flights in top destinations

Chinese space debris may hit flights with tourists in the most popular countries

Travelers, including a few Russians, may rest this weekend be damaged by the fall of debris from a Chinese rocket, which is expected to land on the territory of the most popular tourist countries.

Where it will land depends on where it re-enters Earth's atmosphere. According to analysts' calculations, Spain, Portugal, France and Italy were in the risk group. The Civil Aviation Authority issued a warning, The Sun reported.

Chinese space debris could hit tourist flights in Europe, which has been plagued by chaos at airports this season, with massive flight cancellations due to staff shortages and strikes by employees left at work. “The European Union Consortium for the Surveillance and Tracking of Outer Space (EU SST) is piloting a large space rocket and estimates that it will re-enter Earth's atmosphere between Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 July. The potential re-entry path could affect flights scheduled through Bulgaria, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain. Operators are advised to closely monitor the situation,” the message said.

The rocket was launched on Saturday, July 24, and is the second module of China's Tiangong Modular Space Station. It is noted that the space mission was successful, but the rocket weighs about 23 tons and is one of the “largest debris returned to the atmosphere in the recent past.”

Experts are inclined to believe that space debris will land straight into the sea, because the oceans cover most of the earth's surface. But they do not exclude that it may fall on a populated area and enter the Earth's atmosphere at an altitude of 80 km.

“However, these predictions come with uncertainty because the object is not under control and a more accurate estimate will only be possible a few hours before the actual re-entry into the atmosphere. Operations centers will continue to conduct analyzes to get the best possible estimate of the expected re-entry location and time,” EU security said and warned that it would continue to monitor the situation and some flights could be disrupted this weekend.

The missile could land in a wide swath covering Portugal, Spain, Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey and parts of Latin America and Asia, where there are a large number of resort areas and airports. Part of the rocket will burn up as gravity pulls it through the earth's atmosphere, but part will survive. For example, space debris expert Marlon Sorge predicted a rocket survival rate of “five to nine metric tons.”

Recent history has seen cases of space debris falling close to humans. If last year rocket fragments fell into the Indian Ocean, then in 2018 a “surprise from space” damaged buildings in Côte d’Ivoire. And Michael Byers, a political scientist at the University of British Columbia, found that developing countries are disproportionately at risk of space debris falling.

According to NASA, more than 27,000 pieces of space debris are currently tracked by the Department of Defense's global space surveillance network. . The debris is outside the Earth's atmosphere and is monitored to avoid collisions with spacecraft.

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