Russian rocket breaks up in Earth orbit

Representational Pic
Representational Pic

Russia's space agency on Sunday confirmed one of its rockets used in past launches and floating in space has broken down, leaving debris in orbit.

Theagency said the Fregat-SB upper stage rocket was used to deliver the Russianscientific satellite Spektr-R to orbit in 2011.

"The breakdownhappened on May 8 2020" between 0500 and 0600GMT, above the Indian ocean,the agency said in a statement. "Currentlywe are working to collect data to confirm the quantity and orbit parameters ofthe fragments," it said.

Thedisintegration of Fregat was reported on Saturday by the Twitter account of the18th Space Control Squadron, a US Airforce unit which tracks space debris.

Itsaid the rocket broke up into 65 pieces but there was no indication it wascaused by collision.

The Spektr-R radio telescope stopped responding to ground control in January 2019 and the mission was declared completed several months later.

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