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BARNAUL, August 29 (Itar-Tass) —— More aircraft will be sent to the Progress spaceship fall area in the Altai region’s mountains to look for debris.
Up to date, the Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) has been conducting the search using only one Mi-8 helicopter belonging to the local Emergencies Ministry.
“The number of aircraft will be increased. This will allow us to enlarge the search area. We will use all aircraft available in the region,” Alexander Puzanov, head of the Centre for Monitoring Carrier Rocket Debris Fallout Area in Siberia, told Itar-Tass on Monday, August 29.
The search will resume on Tuesday, August 30, if the weather allows. “We could not take off today. The weather is very bad. No search has been conducted,” he said.
Daily soil and water sampling in the debris fallout area show the absence of toxic substances.
“The working hypothesis has proved viable so far. Everything burnt up in the air before reaching the ground,” Puzanov said.
Roscosmos confirmed that this year’s fourth Russian Progress transport ship that blasted off from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, on August 24 had failed to reach the target orbit.
“According to preliminary information, during the launch of a Soyuz-U carrier rocket with a Progress M-12M transport ship aboard on August 24, the engine malfunctioned in the third stage on the 325th second, which resulted in its emergency deactivation,” Roscosmos said.
“The transport ship Progress M-12M has not been put to the designated orbit,” it said.
Earlier a source in rocket and space industry said that “after 350 seconds of the flight a drop in pressure in the fuel tanks was registered, after which contact with the spacecraft was lost”.
The Mission Control Centre declined to comment on this information.
It said that at an altitude of about 200 kilometres Progress M-12M separated from the Soyuz-U carrier rocket and flew on to the ISS along the preset trajectory with the parameters of the orbit being as follows: apogee 245 kilometres, perigee 193 kilometres, orbit inclination 51.66 degrees, orbiting period 88.59 minutes.
The transport ship was to deliver more than 2,6 tonnes of supplies, including food, water, fuel, equipment, and presents, to the International Space Station (ISS).