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Russian cargo spaceship Progress M12-M crashes in Siberia


Progress M12-M spacecraft.

MOSCOW (PTI): In a second major failure within a week, Russia's Progress M-12M unmanned spacecraft with the load of food and water supplies for the ISS crew, failed to reach its orbit on Wednesday due to malfunctioning of its booster stage and crashed in Siberia.

The Progress freighter lifted off at 17.00 Moscow time (18.30 IST) from the main Gagarin launch pad of the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and was to separate from Soyuz-U launch vehicle at 17.09 hours Moscow time (18.39 IST).

"The flight sequence shows that the space freighter failed to separate from the third stage of the Soyuz-U carrier rocket on the 325th second of the flight," Roscosmos Space Agency said on its website.

Twenty five minutes after the launch the wreckage of the Progress M-12M space freighter fell in South Siberia's Altai Republic, RIA Novosti reported.

"At 17.25 hrs Moscow time (18.55 IST) we received information about falling wreckage from the M-12M space freighter," law enforcement officers said.

The head of the South Siberian republic's Choya district, where the wreckage presumably fell, said a powerful blast was heard within a 100-km radius.

According to state-run Rossiya 24 news channel, the spacecraft had sent a short breakdown report while separating from the Soyuz-U carrier rocket and the spacecraft failed to achieve the required orbital velocity.

This is the second major failure of the Russian space industry in within a week after a multi-million Express AM-4 telecom satellite failed to separate from booster stage after liftoff on August 18.

Earlier last year, the Russian space agency lost three GLONASS navigational satellites launched with single rocket, ultimately leading to the dismissal of Roscosmos chief Anatoly Perminov.

The spacecraft was carrying more than 2.5 tonnes of supplies, including oxygen, food and fuel. NASA officials in the US said the six-member crew aboard the ISS has plenty of food and fuel and will not be immediately affected by the crash.

Media reports quoted an official in Houston as saying that there is "very good backload of food, fuel and other consumables on board the ISS".

Russian spacecraft has been deployed for carrying supplies to the orbiting research lab after the retirement of the US space shuttle programme earlier this year.

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