MOSCOW, May 16. /TASS/. Russia's space authority, Roskosmos, has requested from weather forecaster Roshydromet information about weather conditions in the area of Proton's possible falling in Baikal region, a source in the space sector told TASS on Saturday.
"As the poisonous fuel remained in the rocket's tanks, during the falling it could spread in the atmosphere," the source said. "Thus, Roskosmos was asking about wind directions and possible precipitation."
A source told TASS earlier on Saturday, a Mi8 helicopter of Russia’s Emergencies Ministry has left for an area, to where debris of Proton-M carrier may fall.
"From the Khilok settlement in the Chita region, the helicopter went to the proposed area, which is about 130 kilometres from the settlement," the source said.
Local residents have not reported or claimed anything regarding possible debris.
A source at local law enforcement authorities added "there are unconfirmed reports about fallen debris in Krasnochikoy district." "It is a distanced territory, and specialists are to verify the information."
There is no information about casualties or destruction.
An emergency situation happened during the flight of Proton-M carrier, which was launched on Saturday from the Baikonur cosmodrome at 08:47 Moscow time, at 08:56 Moscow time, one minute to the scheduled separation of the Briz-M booster and the Mexican MexSat-1 space apparatus, which was to be taken to the orbit. The third stage and the satellite were falling from the height of 160 kilometres, which should be sufficient to have all the debris burn up in the atmosphere. The area where they may fall is south-west of the Siberian Baikal region. A preliminary reason of the accident with Proton is a failure of the steering engines of the third stage.
Initially, the launch had been planned for April 29, but was postponed at the client’s request. Boeing, which made the apparatus, needed more time to check the equipment on board.
Proton’s previous launch was on March 19, where it took to the orbit Russia’s Express-AM7 communications satellite.
Precisely a year ago, the carrier rocket Proton-M, which was launched from Baikonur together with the communications satellite Express-AM4R, has burnt up in the dense layers of the atmosphere. The non-deployment of the communications satellite Express-AM4R into orbit was caused by an abnormal situation, Irina Zubareva, press secretary of the Roskosmos director, told TASS then.