Pieces of an unmanned Russian spacecraft bound for the International Space Station crashed in Siberia Wednesday after the craft suffered a malfunction minutes after launch, the Associated Press reports.
Russian space agency Roscosmos did not say whether the Progress supply ship was destroyed in the incident, but local officials in the region near where the wreckage landed described hearing a loud explosion. "The explosion was so strong that for 100 kilometers [60 miles] glass almost flew out of the windows," Alexander Borisov, head of the Choisky region in Russia’s Altai province, told Russian media.
So far there have been no reports of casualties. Still, the incident could affect both Roscosmos and NASA, which plans to send its astronauts into space on Russian crafts now that its space shuttle program has ended. NASA's space station program manager, Mike Suffredini, said a manned mission planned for next month may be delayed because the part of the Soyuz rocket that failed during Wednesday's incident is similar to the ones used to launch manned crafts.
Although the ship was carrying more than 2.5 tons of supplies, including oxygen, food, and fuel, the International Space Station has enough supplies that the incident "would have no negative influence" on the station's current six-member crew, Roscosmos said.