Russian space boss in bid to fulfill ISS commitments

Russia’s space agency Roscosmos is discussing proposals on how to fulfill the country’s obligations to deliver crews to and from the International Space Station (ISS) after the loss of the Progress M-12M space freighter.

The space freighter, carrying food and other items to the ISS, fell in South Siberia’s Altai Republic on Wednesday after failing to separate from its Soyuz-U carrier rocket, the first loss of a Progress freighter in the history of Russia’s space industry. A rocket engine failure is believed to have caused the accident.

A source in Russia’s space industry said after the accident that it may result in Russia failing to fulfill its obligations to deliver crews to the ISS.
Roscosmos head Vladimir Popovkin held an overnight meeting with senior Roscosmos officials to discuss the failed liftoff, and has asked his agency to come up with a plan for supporting the ISS.

Meanwhile, Russia’s chief sanitary doctor Gennady Onishenko eased concerns on Thursday about the possible poisoning of rivers in the Altai Republic with the toxic heptyl fuel that was on board the freighter.

“We have monitored the territory,” he said. “There have been no traces of heptyl registered in the area where the Progress freighter fell.”
A high-ranking source in Russia’s space industry said the toxic fuel was likely to have burned up in the atmosphere along with the rest of the cargo while the freighter was falling.

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