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Mission Control Center reveals cause of Progress spacecraft loss

December 07, 2016, 10:44 UTC+3

The spacecraft did not reach orbit due to the emergency shutdown of engine of the third stage of the carrier rocket

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MOSCOW, December 7. /TASS/. The Progress MS-04 spacecraft was lost due to the emergency shutdown of Soyuz-U carrier rocket third stage’s engine, the Mission Control Center said on Wednesday.

"The Progress MS-04 cargo spacecraft did not reach orbit due to the emergency shutdown of engine of the third stage of the carrier rocket during the 383rd second of flight," the statement said.

The cargo spacecraft Progress, launched on December 1 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 the southern Siberian republic of Tuva. Most of its fragments burned up in the dense layers of the Earth’s atmosphere, the Roscosmos space corporation said.

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

Roscosmos said the flight of the rocket was normal until the 382nd second, when telemetry stopped.

A source in the space and rocket industry told TASS that the emergency shutdown of the engines occurred after 382 seconds and at the same time the spacecraft’s separation occurred. After that, the flight control system started operating in automatic flight mode and began deploying antennas and solar batteries. However, the spacecraft failed to reach orbit and started falling and ended up being destroyed in the atmosphere.

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