Russian cargo spaceship catches fire in atmosphere

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MOSCOW – An unmanned Russian space cargo rocket caught fire on Friday as it entered the atmosphere after spinning out of control, a spokesman of the Russian space agency, Roscosmos said.

“The Progress M-27M entered the Earth’s atmosphere at 0204 GMT over the Pacific Ocean,’’ the spokesman said.

Scientists predicted that the 7-ton rocket would almost completely disintegrate before hitting the surface, with the exception of a few pieces of steel or titanium.

Operators lost control of the ship shortly after it took off from Kazakhstan in late April.

It never reached the International Space Station (ISS) and has been flying in an ever-lower orbit since.

The officials said that the six-man team on board the ISS was in no danger of running out of food or equipment in spite of the loss of the rocket’s 2.4-ton cargo.

An investigation into the cause would run until May 13, but the third stage of the booster rocket already was thought to be to blame.
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A Roscosmos official said that a manned mission to the station planned to take off on May 26 would likely be postponed.

Report says the next supply ship for the International Space Station is scheduled for launch in June by the U.S. Company, SpaceX. (dpa/NAN)

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