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BARNAUL, April 5 (Itar-Tass) — The territory of the Altai-Sayan region has practically been cleared of debris of space rockets launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome, Director of the Centre for Monitoring Carrier Rocket Debris Fallout Area in Siberia Professor Alexander Puzanov told Itar-Tass on Thursday.
Part of the Altai Territory, the Republic of Altai, Khakassia and Tuva are the predicted impact point of the second stage of space rockets launched from the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan. Over the past three years alone, 30 launches of the Soyuz rockets and 23 launches of the Proton rockets have been carried out from Baikonur. “They do not burn completely in the atmosphere. Thus, if the second stage of Proton weighs about 12 tonnes, according to our calculations, up to 5-7 tonnes fall to the Earth surface,” Puzanov said.
According to him, before 1999, the work to clear the territories of space debris was not carried out, in fact. “At present, almost everything has been removed. Small fragments may still remain in the basins of the Abakan River in Khakassia and Chulyshman River in the Altai Republic. It is simply impossible to get to these places,” Puzanov said. Functions for the disposal of fragments of space rockets are assigned to the S. A. Chaplygin Siberian Research Aviation Institute.
Professor Puzanov said that after each launch from Baikonur, specialists of the Monitoring Centre take different samples from the environment in the impact areas in order to check if rocket-engine propellant gets into the ecosystem. No such facts have been registered so far, the scientist said.
The Centre for Monitoring Carrier Rocket Debris Fallout Area in Siberia was created by the Russian Space Agency (Roskosmos) in 2010 on the base of the Institute for Water and Environmental Problems of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.