Moscow, Dec 2: An unmanned Russian cargo spaceship heading to the International Space Station broke up over Siberia due to an apparent malfunction, reports quoted the Russian space agency on Friday. The Progress MS-04 cargo craft broke up on Thursday at an altitude of 190 km over the remote Russian Tuva region in Siberia that borders Mongolia, Roscosmos said in a statement, ABC news has reported.
It said most of spaceship’s debris burnt up as it entered the atmosphere but some fell on Earth over what it called “an uninhabited area”. Locals reported seeing a flash of light and hearing a loud thud west of Kyzyl, more than 3,600 km east of Moscow, the Tuva government was quoted as saying. The Progress cargo ship had lifted off on schedule from Russia’s space launch complex in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, to deliver 2.5 metric tons of fuel, water, food and other supplies. It was set to dock with the space station on Saturday.
Roscosmos said the craft was operating normally before it stopped transmitting data a few minutes after the launch. The Russian space agency has not described the malfunction, saying its experts were looking into it. This was the third botched launch of a Russian spacecraft in two years.