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Unmanned Russian Cargo Spacecraft Breaks Up Shortly After Takeoff

  • VOA News

FILE - The Soyuz-FG rocket booster with Soyuz MS spaceship blasts off at the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, July 7, 2016. On Dec. 1, an unmanned cargo ship, headed to the International Space Station, burned up in the atmosphere directly after launching in Kazakhstan.

FILE - The Soyuz-FG rocket booster with Soyuz MS spaceship blasts off at the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, July 7, 2016. On Dec. 1, an unmanned cargo ship, headed to the International Space Station, burned up in the atmosphere directly after launching in Kazakhstan.

An unmanned Russian supply spaceship broke up Thursday over Siberia, just six minutes after taking off from a launchpad in Kazakhstan.

The Russian space agency said the Progress craft broke apart about 190 kilometers above the Earth.

Most of the ship and its cargo burned up in the atmosphere. The rest fell in a remote area of Siberia near the Mongolian border. No damage or injuries were reported. The cause of the incident was under investigation.

The ship was carrying about 2.5 metric tons of food, water, fuel and other supplies to the International Space Station. It was supposed to dock Saturday. Russian and U.S. space officials said the six-person crew on the station was in no danger and had plenty of food and fuel.

This was the third failure involving a Russian spacecraft in the last two years. Russian craft are the primary suppliers of supplies to the space station, whose crew currently consists of three cosmonauts from Russia, two U.S. astronauts and one from the European Union.

U.S. supply ships have been grounded since a launchpad explosion in September. A Japanese cargo ship is scheduled to fly to the space station on December 9.

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