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Sun Jan 15, 2012, 04:32 PM

Space probe crashes into Pacific, Russians say [View all]

Derelict Russian space probe crashes to Earth
Military spokesman reports Phobos-Grunt re-entry over Pacific Ocean

MOSCOW A failed probe that was designed to travel to a moon of Mars but got stuck in Earth orbit has crashed into the Pacific Ocean, Russian officials said Sunday.

The unmanned Phobos-Grunt probe was one of the heaviest and most toxic space derelicts ever to crash to Earth, but there were no reports of injury or damage. There's a good chance that no one actually saw the spacecraft's fiery plunge.

"Phobos-Grunt fragments have crashed down in the Pacific Ocean," the RIA-Novosti news service quoted Alexei Zolotukhin, a spokesman for Russia's aerospace defense forces, as saying. The debris zone was said to be 775 miles (1,250 kilometers) west of Wellington Island in the South Pacific. Re-entry was estimated to occur at about 12:45 p.m. ET, based on the data received by the Russians.


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