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Engine burn is likely cause of Progress spacecraft accident — source

December 02, 2016, 9:45 UTC+3

The key version is a burn-through of the combustor chamber of the third stage’s engine

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MOSCOW, December 2. /TASS/. Russia’s state commission blames the engine burn of the third stage for Thursday’s accident with the Soyuz-U rocket carrying the Progress MS-04 spacecraft, a space industry source told TASS.

"The key version is a burn-through of the combustor chamber of the third stage’s engine," the source said.

This could have been caused by either foreign particles in the engine or an improper assembly of the engine, he explained.

The Progress MS-04 robotic supply ship was launched atop the Soyuz-U carrier rocket from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan at 17:51 Moscow time on Thursday. Later, Russia’s space agency Roscosmos reported that the spacecraft was lost as it flew nearly 190 kilometers (120 miles) over the southern Siberian republic of Tuva.

The spacecraft burned up in the atmosphere, and the remaining debris fell in a remote unpopulated area in Tuva.

The Progress MS-04 spacecraft was due to deliver 2.5 tonnes of various cargoes for the International Space Station (ISS) crew, including rocket fuel, water and air. Along with that, it carried research equipment and components, containers with food, clothes, medicines and body care products.

The next Progress MS launch is scheduled for February 2.

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