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Progress ship unburned debris sinks in South Pacific

January 25, 2012, 9:16 UTC+3

The next cargo spacecraft Progress M-14M is to dock to the ISS Pirs docking module on January 28

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KOROLEV (Moscow region), January 25 (Itar-Tass) — Russia’s cargo spaceship Progress, from which a scientific microsatellite was launched on Wednesday, has sunk in the South Pacific.

The Mission Control Centre (MCC) outside Moscow told Itar-Tass that the “engines of the Progress M-13M cargo ship ignited on a command of the on-board computer at 06:25, Moscow time.” They gave a deceleration impulse, after which the spacecraft started deorbiting, and at about 07:17 MSK the debris of the cargo ship that has not burned during re-entry with the remains of waste from the International Space Station (ISS) sunk at a depth of 4 kilometres several thousand kilometres east of New Zealand and away from shipping routes.

The Progress ship the night before was undocked from the ISS and with the help of two impulses was placed on a medium orbit at an altitude of 500 kilometres. Four hours ago, with a special launch barrel the Chibis-M microsatellite shot off from the cargo spacecraft and launched into “free floating.”

Before the ship’s undocking from the ISS Russians of the station’s crew manually loaded more than a tonne of garbage and waste equipment on board the Progress.

“The practice of destroying space debris with the use of cargo spacecraft does not harm the Earth's ecology,” scientists claim. During re-entry most of the waste in the Progress burns with the ship in the dense atmosphere, an only a few fragments fly down to the ocean surface.

The next cargo spacecraft Progress M-14M, which will deliver into orbit more than 2.6 tonnes of various cargoes, is to dock to the ISS Pirs docking module on January 28, to replace the sunken ship.




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