Freighter destroyed over Pacific

By | September 30, 2008

Europe’s “Jules Verne” space freighter has destroyed itself in a controlled burn-up over the southern Pacific.

The 13.5-tonne cargo ship had completed a six-month mission to the space station and was packed with the orbiting platform’s rubbish. Two engine firings were required to slow the freighter sufficiently to pull it into the atmosphere. The European and US space agencies had chase planes in the air to try to capture the fireball on video.

Astronauts on the space station reported seeing the light from the falling freighter. “Everything went correctly, nominally, smoothly. … Most of the vehicle was expected to burn up in the descent; only fragments should have made it down to the ocean water. Computer modelling of the re-entry had put the impact time at 1346 GMT. – bbc

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