A Russian spacecraft that was floating in outer space has now shattered into pieces, leaving debris in Earth's orbit, the agency confirmed on Sunday, May 10. The Fregat-SB upper stage rocket was used to deliver the Russian satellite Spektr-R to the orbit in 2011. As per reports, the rocket disintegrated on Friday.
"The breakdown happened on May 8, 2020 between 0500 and 0600 GMT above the Indian ocean,” the agency said in a statement. "Currently we are working to collect data to confirm the quantity and orbit parameters of the fragments," it added.
The disintegration of the Fregat rocket was reported on Saturday by the18th Space Control Squadron, a US Airforce unit that tracks space debris. Taking to Twitter, it said that the rocket shattered into 65 pieces but there was no indication it was caused by a collision.
#18SPCS confirmed that the breakup of FREGAT DEB (TANK) (#37756, 2011-037B) occurred on May 8, 2020, between 0402 and 0551 UTC. Tracking 65 associated pieces – no indication caused by collision. #spaceflightsafety #spacedebris— 18 SPCS (@18SPCS) May 9, 2020
The Spektr-R satellite radio telescope stopped responding to ground control in January 2019 and the mission was declared completed several months later.
(Image Credits: Representational Image/AP)