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Russia Confirms Loss of Progress Spacecraft

A Progress MS-04 cargo spacecraft. Federal Space Agency

The Russian space agency Roscosmos has confirmed the loss of a Progress MS-04 cargo spacecraft over Russia's Tuva region.

"According to preliminary information, as a result of an abnormal situation, the Transport Cargo Vehicle was lost at an altitude of about 190 kilometers above rugged, uninhabited mountainous territory of the Republic of Tuva, and most of the fragments burned up in the dense layers of the atmosphere," Roscosmos said in a statement to the Interfax News Agency. 

A state commission will carry out an analysis to determine what caused the abnormality in the spacecraft's flight. 

For up to 382 seconds the launch vehicle's flight proceeded normally. After that, telemetry data reception ended. A source from the spaceport told Interfax that the Progress MS-04 broke into 15-20 pieces, falling between Gorno-Altai and Kyzyl in the Republic of Tuva. 

Roscosmos has promised that the loss of the Progress vehicle will not affect the normal routine for the crew of the International Space Station (ISS). 

"The ship Progress MS-04 shall deliver to the ISS more than two tons of various cargoes: fuel tanks for the combined propulsion system and the refueling system, water and compressed gases, research equipment and components for life-support systems, as well as containers with food, clothing, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products for the crew members."

However, due to common components and design features between the unmanned Progress spacecraft and the manned Soyuz vehicle used to transport astronauts to ISS, it is possible that manned flights to the station will be suspended until the next successful Progress launch. The next manned Soyuz flight is scheduled for March.

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