Saturday, December 24, 2011

Parts of Russian satellite fell in Siberia -- House damaged, no reports of fatalities

Moscow, Russia (Dec. 24) – A piece of scrap from a Russian satellite, smacked back to Earth after its failure to launch properly, crashed into a village in Siberia striking a home on a street named after cosmonauts, officials said on Saturday.

Parts of Russian satellite fell in Siberia
According to details; the Meridian communications satellite failed to make it to the orbit Friday due to a malfunction of its Soyuz rocket. The latest incident denting the reputation of Russian space programme which has now lost more than six satellites in 2011.

The parts of the satellite smacked back into the Novosibirsk region of central Siberia and were also found in the Ordynsk district around 100km south of the regional capital Novosibirsk.

Interfax news agency reported citing an official source from the local security services that a 50-cm circular part was recovered which crashed into the roof of a house in the village of Vagaitsevo" in the Ordynsk district. The house was located on Cosmonaut Street, named after the heroic spacemen of the Soviet and Russian space programme, official told further.

The owner of the house, who was at home with his family at the time of fall, will be compensated after the evaluation of damages, the head of the Ordynsk district, Pavel Ivarovksy, told Interfax.

"The owner told me he heard a noise, then a crash, and he went outside and saw the damage," he said. There were no reports of fatalities.

The failure of the Soyuz-2.1B rocket to deliver its payload is a particular worry as it comes from a member of the same family that Russia uses to send multinational manned crews to the International Space Station (ISS).

An unmanned Progress supply ship bound for the ISS crashed into Siberia in August after its launch by a Soyuz, forcing the temporary grounding of the rockets and well as a wholesale re-jig of the station's staffing.

The loss of the Meridian satellite caps a disastrous 12 months for Russia that has already seen it lose three navigation satellites, an advanced military satellite, a telecommunications satellite, a probe for Mars as well as the Progress.

"This again shows that the (Russian space) industry is in crisis," admitted Vladimir Popovkin, the head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, in comments broadcast on state television. "It is deeply unpleasant."

Acknowledging that the jobs of the Roscosmos leadership were at risk, he added: "I think it is possible that the organisational conclusions will be quite severe, right up to including myself."

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