Russia: Wayward rocket no threat to ISS

Aug. 16, 2012 at 5:42 PM

MOSCOW, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- A Russian rocket that failed to put its payload into orbit is not a threat to the International Space Station, Russia's federal space agency Roscosmos said.

A failed launch Aug.6 left the Proton-M carrier rocket, two communication satellites, the Breeze-M booster and a linking device in an irregular orbit, China's state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.

"If any threat to the ISS appears, corresponding orders will be given to the crew to adjust the station's orbit," Roscosmos head Vladimir Popovkin said Tuesday.

Russian and U.S. ground controllers were monitoring the objects, Popovkin said, and he denied reports that fuel on the Breeze-M booster could explode.

"After the emergency took place, the excess pressure in the fuel tanks was released," Popovkin said, saying he saw no reason to believe the remaining fuel represented an explosive hazard.

Malfunctions in the Breeze-M booster and minor problems in the carrier rocket's third stage were responsible for the failure of the launch to achieve the intended orbit, a Russian state commission investigating the incident said.

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