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Siberian air defense unit to help searching for Progress spacecraft debris

December 02, 2016, 16:46 UTC+3 YEKATERINBURG

Military radars on December 1 identified two falling objects - most likely Progress debris

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© Donat Sorokin/TASS

YEKATERINBURG, December 2. /TASS/. An air defense unit of the Central Military District stationed in Siberia may help identify the likely area where fragments of the Progress MS-04 cargo spacecraft may have fallen to Earth on Thursday evening, Central Military District spokesman Yaroslav Roshchupkin has told TASS.

"The flight path and direction of registered objects allow for identifying the area to be combed by search groups," Roshchupkin said.

He added that military radars on December 1 identified two falling objects - most likely Progress debris - at 17:56 and 17:57 Moscow time.

According to data of the Central Military District, servicemen are not taking part in the search measures.

The cargo spacecraft Progress launched on Thursday from the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan by a Soyuz-U carrier rocket to deliver supplies to the International Space Station (ISS) was lost at an altitude of 190 km above Tyva. Most of its fragments burned up in the dense layers of the Earth’s atmosphere, the press office of Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos said.

The spacecraft’s remaining fragments could have fallen 60-80 km west of Kyzyl in a scarcely populated area in the Republic of Tyva in south Siberia, a source in the rocket and space industry said.

According to the source, specialists have notified all ministries and departments concerned, including Russia’s Emergencies Ministry, about the spacecraft’s accident and the likely crash site.

The Progress MS-04 spacecraft was expected to deliver about 2.5 tons of various cargoes to the world’s sole orbiter: fuel for the ISS, water and the air for cosmonauts. The spacecraft’s cargo compartment accommodated scientific equipment and spare parts, containers with foodstuffs, clothes, medicines and personal hygiene items.

The Russian Emergencies Ministry’s teams have combed four populated areas in several districts of Tyva but have found no spacecraft debris.

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