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5 Jan, 2007 18:10

Russian rocket remains reported to fall in the U.S.

Russian rocket remains reported to fall in the U.S.

The remains of a Russian rocket that launched a French space telescope on a three-year research mission last month have apparently come down in Wyoming. No damage on the ground has been reported.

The remnants of the rocket appeared as a fiery stream of meteors falling from the sky and US Air Defense officials are trying to confirm whether pieces of the rocket may have hit the ground in the state of Wyoming.

Russia Today spoke with Major April Cunningham from Norad Command in the US. According to Ms Cunningham, the first space control squad of Norad Command located in the air force station in Colorado Springs, Colorado, tracked this re-entry.

“It is typical for re-entering object like this to break up and burn up [in the earth atmosphere]. However, it is possible that small pieces of it could reach the ground. The most likely areas for these pieces to be looked for are south-western Colorado and north-western New Mexico. Currently, no damage has been reported and the debris is not believed to be hazardous. Approximately 200 objects re-enter the earth atmosphere per year, so this is not that unusual,” said Ms Cunningham.

The French telescope satellite was launched from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in December 2006.

Igor Panarin, Russian Federal Space Agency spokesman, comments.

“The Frigate rocket booster was launched from the Baikonur space launch pad on December 27 and put a French-made craft in orbit. The two stages of the Frigate rocket booster were dumped in the scarcely populated area of the Pacific Ocean somewhere behind Australia on the day of the launch, December 27. The Russian side has officially announced that. As far as the third stage is concerned, we are checking the U.S. claims and our ballistic experts will be able to give the final answer in the next two hours. But the U.S. side should also provide evidence that the debris that hit ground in the U.S. are the fragments of the Frigate rocket booster.”