Russian cargo vessel crashes in Siberia
A Russian spy ship carrying cargo for the International Space Station failed to reach orbit on Wednesday as fragments crashed into Russia’s Siberian region of Altai.
According to Yuri Antaradonov, the head of the Altai government, the fragments fell into an uninhabited area and emergency services were already at work to clean up debris.
The unmanned Progress M-12M vessel was loaded up with several tonnes of supplies for the international crew on board the space station but never reached its destination.
“The Progress M-12M cargo craft was not placed in its assigned orbit,” said the Russian space agency Roskosmos in a statement.
The vessel had blasted off at 5:00p.m. Moscow time from Russia’s Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Russian space expert Sergei Puzanov told the Interfax news agency that the accident should not immediately threaten the six-person crew, since they currently have two to three months worth of fuel and oxygen.
The failed launch comes just weeks after the US ended its space shuttle programme, making Russia and its international crew the world’s only link to the International Space Station.
Russia has had five launch failures in the last nine months including one from Baikonur last week, where it lost its new Express-AM4 digital television, telephone and Internet satellite.
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