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Search for Progress wreckage complicated by bad weather

September 01, 2011, 10:34 UTC+3

The group will remain on the ground and continue working with maps and photos to analyze the material

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GORNO-ALTAISK, September 1 (Itar-Tass) —— The adverse weather in the Altai Republic on Thursday prevented the search party from continuing flights to find the possible site where the Progress M-12M spacecraft supposedly fell in the Altai mountains on August 24.

The group will remain on the ground and continue working with maps and photos to analyze the material. The weather has worsened for rather a long time. The next helicopter flight may be planned only for next Friday, Roskosmos deputy head in charge of work at fall sites Alexander Dvurechensky, who personally participates in the search, told Itar-Tass on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the specialists examined areas from the air in the Turachak and Ulagan districts of the republic and also along the eastern shore of Lake Teletskoye. They also questioned shepherds working in remote areas, workers in taiga reserves and other witnesses who saw something on the night.

The search is unsuccessful so far. This confirms the main version that the spacecraft debris completely burned up in the atmosphere, not falling onto the ground.

Daily tests of ground and water in the supposed crash area detect no traces of rocket propellant and kerosene. Radiation in the region is within the natural levels.

The cargo craft crashed on August 24. The Progress launched from Baikonur was to deliver more than 2.6 tonnes of cargoes to the International Space Station.

Potentially dangerous at the possible debris fall site may be heptyl, highly toxic rocket propellant. Aboard the Progress were about 800 kilogrammes of heptyl destined for the ISS needs.

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