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Russian rocket is in uncontrolled descent to Earth

By Doug Cunningham
Russian rocket is in uncontrolled descent to Earth
A Russian Ankara-A5 heavy-lift rocket launches December 14 from the Plesetsk space center in northwestern Russia. Photo courtesy of Russian Defense Ministry/TASS

Jan. 5 (UPI) -- A Russian rocket is expected to re-enter Earth's atmosphere Wednesday in an uncontrolled descent.

Much of the rocket is expected to burn up as it plunges through the atmosphere, so there likely will not be major damage when it hits.

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According to Russia's state-run TASS news agency, the Angara-A5 heavy-lift rocket was launched Dec. 27 to test the Persei booster.

The European Space Agency's Holger Krag told CNN no one can say where the upper stage rocket booster will land.

"It's safe to say that in the next 24 hours it will be down, but where, nobody can say, because in the window of several hours it will do several revolutions around the globe," Krag said.

The upper part of that rocket failed to burn and is falling to Earth.

The rocket was meant to carry a dummy payload into high orbit, but the test failed.

This is the latest space debris to fall from orbit. Last year, the Chinese Long March 5B rocket fell uncontrolled into the Indian Ocean.

In November, the United States criticized as "reckless" a Russian missile test whose debris endangered astronauts working aboard the International Space Station.

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