September 19, 2020

Russians search for crashed spaceship in Siberia

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MOSCOW (AP) — Russian emergency workers are using helicopters Thursday in their search for the wreckage of the unmanned supply ship that crashed and exploded in a forested area in Siberia.

The spaceship was launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan some 1,500 kilometers (900 miles) southwest of the crash site. It fell after the third stage of its booster rocket failed a few minutes into the launch, in the Choisky district in Russia’s Altai province.

It was the 44th launch of a Progress supply ship to the space station — and the first failure in the nearly 13-year life of the complex.

The Progress ship carrying almost 3 tons of supplies to the International Space Station was destroyed. The rocket failed barely a month after NASA’s final space shuttle flight.

Without the shuttles, NASA now is counting on Russia, Europe and Japan, as well as private U.S. businesses, to keep the station stocked.

The Russians will also be transporting astronauts to the space station until U.S. private industry can pick up the human load.

NASA and its international partners want to keep the space station running until at least 2020.

Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, said that the accident “would have no negative influence” on the International Space Station crew because its existing supplies of food, water and oxygen are sufficient.

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