The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has warned that debris from a Chinese rocket which launched on Sunday could hit Earth in the coming days, adding that it will be "one of the largest debris that has re-entered the atmosphere in recent years" and Portugal is on the list of countries that could be affected.
In the statement, EASA says that it is "likely" that the debris will "re-enter the Earth's atmosphere", with the entry taking place "in an uncontrolled way, between 30 and 31 July 2022".
"It is difficult at this point to predict exactly where the debris will go and where on Earth the pieces will land," EASA said. However, possible re-entry trajectories have been estimated, and the countries that could be affected are Bulgaria, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain.
The rocket, which was launched on July 24, 2022, has an estimated mass of between 17 and 22 tonnes, making it "one of the largest pieces of debris that has re-entered the atmosphere in recent years". "Therefore, it deserves careful monitoring," says the agency.