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Russian space freighter deorbited, dumped in Pacific

RIA Novosti

20:40 01/07/2010

MOSCOW, July 1 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Progress M-03M cargo spacecraft was taken out of orbit and buried in the Pacific Ocean after its service life came to an end on Thursday, mission control said.

The module was undocked from the International Space Station (ISS) on May 10 and was used as an ISS research lab for 51 days.

Mission control said fragments of the spacecraft that had not burned up in the atmosphere upon reentry sank safely in a designated part of the Pacific that is not used for shipping.

Decommissioned Russian cargo modules are typically used as space platforms in a variety of research projects and experiments for some time before they are finally discarded by being burned up in Earth's upper atmosphere.

On Wednesday, the latest Russian cargo spacecraft, Progress M-06M, lifted off toward the ISS. It was launched from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan on a Soyuz-U booster rocket.

The freighter will deliver fuel, oxygen, scientific equipment and video and photo equipment to the ISS, as well as food, water and personal items for the crew.

The spaceship is to dock with the space station on July 2 at 20:55 Moscow time [16:55 GMT].

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